HomeNewsAnalysisTwo US Agents Attacked: One Dead, Many Questions
ANALYSIS

Two US Agents Attacked: One Dead, Many Questions

MEXICO / 16 FEB 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

InSight has learned that the unidentified gunmen, responsible for killing one and wounding another U.S. agent in northern Mexico on Tuesday, may not have known the identities of their victims. According to sources consulted by InSight, the agents were detained while traveling on Highway 57, which connects San Luis Potosi to Mexico City. It is unclear whether the pair were stopped at a roadblock or forced off the road. The agents then rolled down the car window, reinforcing the theory that the assailants may have been wearing military garb, perhaps confusing the agents or causing them to believe this was a military roadblock. A perpetrator then stuck an AK-47 in the window, shooting one agent in the leg and another in the chest.

The two agents worked for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. The agent shot in the chest, identified as Jaime Zapata, died from his injuries. The second agent, who remains unidentified, is hospitalized and in stable condition.

The shooting raises the question of whether the killings represent random acts of violence or a more sophisticated targeting of U.S personnel. This latest attack comes just under a year after the killing of Lesley Enriquez, who worked at the U.S Consulate in Juarez, and her husband. Both were shot and killed in their car in Juarez in March 2010. The murders remain unsolved.

In 2008, members of the Gulf Cartel attacked the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, firing shots and launching a defective grenade at the building. But the most famous attack involving Mexican gunmen against U.S. personnel was the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena. The subsequent crackdown, aided substantially by a bulked-up DEA investigative unit, led to the eventual dismantling of the Guadalajara Cartel.

The main question raised by this most recent attack on U.S. personnel is whether this indicates powerful drug cartels have moved beyond random acts of violence and have adopted a strategy of targeting American agents. InSight however is not yet prepared to draw such conclusions. Many basic facts still remain unclear but so far it appears this was an attack by chance, committed by assailants who were most likely wearing military uniform, possibly prompting the agents to lower their car window. Therefore it is unlikely that this action will prompt similar attention from U.S. authorities, as occurred with the targeted killing of Camarena in 1985.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

MEXICO / 25 AUG 2011

Luxury cars, mansions, mobile phones, jewels and other assets seized from suspected members of Mexican criminal organisations are auctioned well…

JALISCO CARTEL / 23 JUL 2013

Five people were killed and various others injured after an unidentified group shot at protesters in southwest Mexico's Michoacan state,…

JUAREZ CARTEL / 19 NOV 2010

The Mexican army will again patrol the streets of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, announced the Mexican Government's general secretary,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…