Two Mexican nationals have been extradited from Mexico and are facing trial in connection with the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata, and attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila. The two agents were ambushed in Mexico in February of 2011.
Zapata and Avila were in an armored vehicle with consular license plates when they were attacked by Los Zetas cartel gunmen. The gunmen ran them off the road and 90 bullets were fired. Five of them hit Zapata, and Avila was struck by three bullets in his right leg. Zapata died from his injuries.
After the ambush, Agent Avila immediately asked his supervisors why they wanted them to travel on a risky road with serious security issues, as reported by Breitbart News’ Mary Chastain in October of 2012. Supervisors claimed there weren’t any security issues but the U.S. State Department had forbidden embassy employees from traveling on Road 57 because it was controlled by the Los Zetas cartel. The two agents also did not know that they were on a dangerous mission to retrieve surveillance equipment.
Both of the men that were extradited are from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. They were charged on May 16, 2013.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jesus Ivan Quezada Piña who goes by the alias “Loco,” and thirty-three-year-old Alfredo Gaston Mendoza Hernandez (a.k.a. “Camaron” and “Burger”), are facing four charges.
The two men are facing trial for: murder of an officer or employee of the U.S.; attempted murder of an officer or employee of the U.S.; attempted murder of an internationally protected person; and using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence that caused a death.
The indictment was unsealed on Monday when Piña and Hernandez made their initial appearances before a federal court in the District of Columbia. The judge ordered that the men be placed in jail and he denied bail.
Four defendants previously pleaded guilty for their part in the murder and attempted murder – Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin,” 35); Ruben Dario Venegas Rivera (“Catracho,” 28); Jose Ismael Nava Villagran (“Cacho,” 33); and Francisco Carbajal Flores (“Dalmata,” 41). They admitted they were involved in the ambush and that they participated as part of a Los Zetas hit squad. Flores, acknowledged assisting Los Zetas members after the attack.
Another man, thirty-five-year-old Jose Emanuel Garcia Sota (a.k.a. Juan Manuel Maldonado Amezcua), was extradited to the U.S. in October of last year and is awaiting trial.
The case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from ICE, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The government of Mexico has also assisted in the effort to bring justice for Agents Zapata and Avila and their families.
As reported by Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz in February, Agent Avila, and the family of Agent Jaime Zapata, filed a federal lawsuit in Brownsville against banking leader HSBC and its multiple subsidiaries.
The 106 page lawsuit alleges that the financial institutions have provided material support to Mexican drug cartels by allowing them to launder billions of dollars leading to an explosion in cartels growth. As reported by Ortiz, the legal petition compares Mexican cartels to terrorist organizations and urges that the actions of the banks is akin to individuals who finance terrorist groups.