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Tag: Mexico

Recent Deaths of 3 Fed Agents Highlight Growing Danger of the Job

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The shooting deaths of two federal agents last week and three in two months highlight the heightened risk to federal investigators who are confronting increasingly violent fugitives, drug traffickers and other criminals, authorities said.

The killing of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in Mexico on Tuesday was followed by the slaying of a deputy U.S. marshal in West Virginia on Wednesday, an unusual confluence of events that left officials deeply troubled. A Border Patrol agent was fatally shot in Arizona in December.

The killings, while not connected, come amid a broadening federal role in fighting violent crime that was once left mainly to state authorities, investigators said. Federal-state task forces on violent crime have multiplied since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, bringing federal agents in closer contact with dangerous criminals. And the government says it is pouring resources into fighting drug trafficking and other crimes along the border with Mexico.

“You’re seeing feds playing a much more active role in fighting violent crime, and that’s putting us in harm’s way,” said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

To read more click here.

Mexican Authorities Say Drug Cartel Shot and Killed ICE Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

No surprise.

Mexican authorities are saying that two ICE agents who were shot in the northern part of the country Tuesday were ambushed on a road about four hours north of Mexico City by drug cartel gunmen, the Washington Post reports. One died and the other was wounded and is stable condition.

The paper reported that the governor of San Luis Potosi, Fernando Toranzo, where the shootings took place, were killed by the same cartel that has wreaked havoc in his state.

The paper reported that the agent killed has been identified as Jaime Zapata, 32. The other agent, whose name has not been released, was taken to a hospital in Houston. They were assigned to the ICE attache in Mexico City.

The paper reported that the Mexican government bans U.S. law enforcement personnel from carrying guns.

A press release said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. had decided to form a joint task force, led by the FBI, to track down the perpetrators.

Agent Zapata joined ICE in 2006 and was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Special Agent in Charge in Laredo, Tex., where he served on the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit as well as the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, ICE said in a statement.

He began his federal law enforcement career with the Department of Homeland Security as a member of the U.S. Border Patrol in Yuma, Az. A native of Brownsville, Tex., he graduated from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

One ICE Agent Shot and Killed and 2nd One Wounded in Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

NO ONE in Mexico appears safe from the violence that continues to strangle that country.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another was wounded Tuesday while driving through northern Mexico, the Associated Press reported. The two were assigned  to the ICE attache office in Mexico City.

AP reported that the two agents were driving in the northern state of San Luis Potosi and were stopped at what appeared to be a military checkpoint. At that point, someone opened fire.

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, issued a statement saying:

“I’m deeply saddened by the news that earlier today, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents assigned to the ICE Attaché office in Mexico City were shot in the line of duty while driving between Mexico City and Monterrey by unknown assailants.”

“Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel – or any DHS personnel – is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety. The full resources of our Department are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation. We remain committed in our broader support for Mexico’s efforts to combat violence within its borders.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

White House Can’t Pull the Trigger; Delays Emergency Request to Require Gun Reporting Along the Mexican Border


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The White House just can’t seem to pull the trigger.

James V. Grimaldi of the Washington Post reports that White House budget officials once against delayed a decision for at least two months on an emergency request that would require gun dealers along the Mexican border to report people who buy two or more assault weapons in five days.

The Post reported that the White House officials want to show more transparency and give the public more time – until Feb. 14 – to comment on the proposal.

The NRA has opposed the rule and ATF has been pushing for it to help clamp down on guns going into Mexico and into the hands of the cartels. It’s the second time implementation of the rule has been delayed.

To read more click here.

Homeland’s Napolitano Says Crime and Illegal Crossings at Border Down

Janet Napolitano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Despite the contentious political rhetoric, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said crime and illegal crossings along the Mexico-U.S. border have dropped sharply. She attributed the change to an intensified focus on border enforcement and a “smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws.”

“We have strengthened the Southwest border in a way that many would not have thought possible,” Napolitano said in a speech at the University of Texas in El Paso on Monday. “And our partnership with Mexico on border security is strong.

“That’s not to say we still don’t face challenges. We are deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence taking place in Mexico. We know that these drug organizations are seeking to undermine the rule of law in Northern Mexico and that we must guard against spillover effects into the United States.

“Nonetheless, it is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control. This statement—often made only to score political points—is just plain wrong.”

She also said that violent crimes in Southwest border counties have dropped by more than 30 percent “and are currently among the lowest in the Nation per capita.”

Read Entire Speech

Mexican Drug Smugglers Use Catapult to Fling Pot into U.S.

Mexican authorities with the catapult/customs and border protection photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Smugglers never seem to run out of ways to get drugs into the U.S.

The latest: U.S. authorities tipped off Mexicans officials that some smugglers were using a catapult to launch marijuana packages from Mexico into the U.S.

The Associated Press reported that National Guard troops in Arizona spotted the catapult on a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station Friday night, 80 miles southeast of Tucson. The U.S. Border Patrol then contacted Mexican authorities.

Mexican authorities responded and disrupted the operation, but the smugglers fled, leaving behind about 45 pounds of marijuana.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YLby2mxzp4

Homeland Security Pulls Plug on Border Fence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s certainly not the first government boondoggle and it certainly won’t be the last. Nonetheless, it appears it was waste of time and money.

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday decided to cut off the ambitious, problem-plagued billion-dollar program SBInet to build a high-tech fence along the Arizona border to battle the nagging problem of illegal immigration, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The project had been plagued by continuous delays, cost overruns and technology glitches.

The Journal reported that Homeland Security will turn to “a mix of proven, existing technology it says will help agents patrol a much bigger chunk of the Southwest border at a lower cost.”

“SBInet cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border-security technology solution,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a written statement.

The Journal reported that she said the new solution will include mobile surveillance systems, unmanned aircraft and thermal-imaging devices. Up until now, only 53 miles of the border have been protected with the technology.

To read more click here.

DEA’s Joseph Evans Who Heads Up Mexico Operation Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year

Joseph Evans/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2010.

Faced with one of the more daunting tasks in  the DEA — battling the violent Mexican Drug Cartels — Evans is credited with developing key partnerships with the Mexican Federal Police and the Mexican government. He is known as an innovative leader and is well respected among colleagues.

A 19-year veteran of the DEA, he was assigned to the Mexico City post in October 2009. The DEA credits his partnership with helping apprehend or kill several key drug kingpins including Arturo Beltran Leyva, Harold Mauricio Poveda Ortega and Narario Moreno Gonzalez.

His area of responsibility also includes Central America and Canada.

The former Marine previously worked for the DEA in Miami, New York, Panama, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

The Fed of Year in 2008 was Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In 2009, the award went to Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI.