“Has that gotten any press?” was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s one-line response to an email notifying her that the gun used to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jamie Zapata in February 2011 was tied to the Fast and Furious scandal.
Other guns were also connected to the murder of U.S Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
An email message that is part of the leaked WikiLeaks emails was sent from Jacob Sullivan to Secretary Clinton on March 1, 2011, just two weeks after Agent Zapata was murdered in Mexico. Sullivan, who then served as Director of Policy Planning at Clinton’s State Department, had forwarded a message from Clinton Advisor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan. The subject line of the unclassified message was “American guns killing American agents.”
The email from Kurtz-Phelan to Sullivan said “FYI, ATF announced last night that the gun used to kill the ICE agent in Mexico last month was purchased in the Dallas- area, by U.S.-based straw buyers. If this isn’t on the Secretary’s radar, it might be worth flagging it for her.” The email went on with a block quote of an Associated Press article titled, “ATF: Gun in US Agent’s Death Traced to Texas Man.” Secretary Clinton’s sole response to the email was to ask about the media ramifications of this revelation.
ICE Agent Victor Avila was also wounded in the attack. Secretary Clinton did not inquire about the then current condition or status of Agent Avila or about Agent Zapata’s family. She only inquired about press coverage of the report.
In February 2012, Breitbart News’ AWR Hawkins reported on the connection between the gun used to kill Agent Zapata and the Fast and Furious federal gun running program. He wrote:
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is looking into the DOJ’s role in Agent Zapata’s murder, and believes the weapon which was used came from a program similar to Fast and Furious. Which means that no one knows whether the gun-walking tied to Fast and Furious was ended, as Holder said it was, only to be started again under another program (with another name), or whether the gun walking tied to Fast and Furious simply continued longer than Holder claims it did. And this brings the focus back to the head of the DOJ’s criminal division, Lanny Breuer, “who suggested letting some illicit ‘straw’ weapons buyers in the U.S. [to] transport their guns across the border into Mexico where they could be arrested.” Was Breuer’s suggestion adopted for Fast and Furious or was it adopted for another program that supplied the weapon with which Agent Zapata was killed?
Congressman Issa appeared on Fox News on February 28, 2012, and said the DOJ was continuing to refuse to cooperate with the investigation by the House Oversight Committee. “I have told the Attorney General that it is contemptible, and I will seek, if necessary, contempt of the House, if we can’t get cooperation under the constitution in our investigation,” Issa said.
Hawkins connected this murder with the murder of Border Patrol Agent Terry. Agent Terry was murdered just two months before the attack on Zapata and a gun connected to the Fast and Furious scandal was found at the scene.
Breitbart’s Mary Chastain wrote in October 2012 about an interview of Agent Avila’s sister, Magdalena Avila-Villalobos by Univision. She presented the following as Agent Avila’s own words about the attack:
Agent Zapata and Agent Avila met with American consulate agents in Monterrey and received 14 boxes of equipment. They did stop for something to eat on road 57 before heading back to Mexico City. About a half hour after leaving the restaurant they noticed two cars closely following them. Within seconds the vehicles surrounded them and 14 heavily armed men formed a circle around their car.
Unfortunately, Agent Zapata put the car in park, which forced the doors to automatically open. Agent Avila said they thought their diplomatic plates would protect them and the screamed they were American agents. The men didn’t care and demanded them to exit the vehicle.
The agents refused to leave their vehicle. They frantically tried to relock the doors, but instead Agent Avila accidentally lowered his window. A rifle and handgun came in through the small opening and the man opened fire. Agent Avila pressed the emergency satellite button, but it did not work. He also tried to place an emergency call to the embassy, the Mexican capital, and the First Post of the Regional Security Command. They told Avila a Mexican Federal Police helicopter would be there in 40 minutes.
90 bullets were fired. Five hit Agent Zapata and three hit Agent Avila in his right leg. Agent Zapata turned to Agent Avila and said, “I am going to die.” Agent Avila responded, “No, you are not going to die. Be strong, help is on the way, you are not going to die.
While in the rescue helicopter Agent Avila was informed Agent Zapata did, in fact, die.
In May 2016, Breitbart Texas’ Legal Analyst Lana Shadwick wrote about the men facing trial for Zapata’s murder and Avila’s injuries:
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 men were extradited from Mexico and are still awaiting trial.