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Drug Cartels Threatening Lives of Texas Rangers, ICE Agents

Drug Cartels Threatening Lives of Texas Rangers, ICE Agents

A photograph was released Thursday of the U.S. Embassy vehicle ICE Special Agents Jaime Jorge Zapata and Victor Avila were driving when they were attacked near the town of Santa Maria Del Rio, San Luis Potosi, Mexico Feb. 15, 2011. The photograph indicate

The Brownsville Herald via YellowBrix

April 01, 2011

BROWNSVILLE — A new law enforcement bulletin warns that members of drug cartels have been overheard plotting to kill federal agents and Texas Rangers who guard the border, officials in Washington reported Thursday.

The bulletin, which was issued in March, said cartel members planned to use AK-47 assault rifles to shoot agents and Rangers from across the border. It did not name the cartels.

The information was released at a hearing before a panel of the House Committee on Homeland Security. The Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management addressed “The U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War Against the Drug Cartels.”

U.S. Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, talked briefly about the bulletin at the hearing. He said this and other findings he cited “are acts of terrorism as defined by law. The shooting of Special Agent Zapata and Avila is a game changer, which alters the landscape of United State’s involvement in Mexico’s war against drug cartels.”

He was referring to Jaime Jorge Zapata, 32, a Brownsville native and special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was killed on Feb. 15 while on duty in Mexico. Injured in the same attack was Special Agent Victor Avila. Members of the Zetas criminal organization are suspected in the attack.

Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Thursday in a statement: “DPS constantly keeps our officers and our law enforcement partners informed of any intelligence that suggests possible threats to their safety. However, we cannot comment on specific law enforcement bulletins.”

In a response to the threats, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official said, “Out of an abundance of caution, we routinely share information that could impact our frontline personnel in order to ensure that they are aware of any and all threats.”

The news comes at time when ICE reportedly is having a difficult time recruiting agents willing to work in Mexico, said Luis Alvarez, assistant director for ICE International Affairs, who testified at the hearing.

Although cooperation with the Mexican government has been “excellent,” Alvarez said, “it is getting more and more difficult (to recruit) because of the increase in violence.”

“It is a difficult work environment. They are constantly looking out for their safety, their surroundings. … They are concerned about their families from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep,” Alvarez said.

At the hearing, a picture of the vehicle in which Zapata and Avila were riding was displayed. McCaul described it as a “highly secure vehicle.” More than 80 rounds from AK-47 rifles were fired at the SUV.

“This demonstrates how violent the situation has become down there. … It looks like something out of a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ movie. This is real, and that is what is happening in Mexico,” McCaul said.

In response to the attack, ICE has brought back its agents from Mexico for additional training, Alvarez said.

“We have provided them with some defensive driving tactics so they can carry out their mission and be prepared for whatever they are going to withstand down in Mexico,” he said.

McCaul said Zapata and Avila pleaded for their lives in Spanish and identified themselves as U.S. federal agents. The attackers responded by firing a barrage of bullets.

“I know agent Avila said that (there were) 10 guys with AK-47s,” McCaul said. “What can you do in that situation? Totally out-gunned and out-manned.”

The U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the attack on Zapata and Avila. The Mexican government has offered a reward of up to 10 million pesos — equal to roughly $837,000.


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    Aramel

    almost 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    I wonder how would it be if this people would be locked down in different drug rehab centers.If Mexico will solve their problems with these drug cartels than everything would be just fine.

  • Mmal6_max50

    tbailes182

    almost 3 years ago

    540 Comments

    I agree with a lot of you. Why is it just the Border Patrol, ICE, and CBP put in charge, for the majority, to protect our U.S. border with these drug cartels?? Perhaps we load up our armed forces and send them down to Texas and Arizona and then across the border into Mexico and take back the safety and security that a lot of those people feel they no longer have. Yeah the problems in Afghanistan and elsewhere are still there, but they're not directly on the border of our country that are getting worse by the day.

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    PoliceSurfer

    almost 3 years ago

    22 Comments

    I'm wondering why we still have Texas drug rehab centers as long as the Mexican government doesn't seem to solve the problem with the drug cartels in their own country. Maybe Mexico should ask for help with the US army. The drug cartels in Mexico have crossed a line and they need to be shown what can happen.

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    BlueKnight4023

    over 3 years ago

    820 Comments

    I don't think bringing ICE agencts back from Mexico for additional training will cut it! Send down the resources need to do the job! If we don't back up our Law Enforcement personell regardless where they're then pull them out!

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    hmacy

    over 3 years ago

    34 Comments

    If this is true the why is it that our President and his panzies refuse to allow these Agents to be armed while working in Mexico. Why is it that the President of Mexico also refuses to allow these agents to be armed. It is high time we get off our duffs and finally end this crap once and for all.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 3 years ago

    11190 Comments

    Here's an idea. Take the reward money, use it to mobilize some Marines to Mexico, provide them with enough ammo to shoot their way into He_ _ and back out again and let the chips ( and drug dealers ) fall where they may .......

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    swatj10

    over 3 years ago

    760 Comments

    All right ICE, Texas Rangers it is time for the ASS KICKIN TO COMMENCE

  • C1__67__max50

    Redsky

    over 3 years ago

    2918 Comments

    Time to deploy the military. i doubt the Gov will do much. they will leave it up to the Troopers, Rangers and locals. the ICE Agents need all the help they can get.

  • Grad_08_044_max50

    depgomez

    over 3 years ago

    692 Comments

    Lets quit P--footing around and lets us arm our agents

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    Buster10

    over 3 years ago

    258 Comments

    An insult if we arm our agents ? Really mr prez ? Heres an insult how about the untold amts of drugs theses mutts bring into our country every day ? or the innoncent people they kill in their greedy turf wars or the people they decapitate and hang from bridges, So keep up the good work in Libya while our borders are invaded and the toilet bowls of the world come here for the freedom and all the free programs that we Americans fund. 4 more years LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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    JWFairrington

    over 3 years ago

    30 Comments

    Obama, Hillary, Napolitano and Holder are using this attack as another reason to disarm American citizens and to attack the 2nd Amendment. Obama even had the nerve to say it would be an insult to Mexico if we armed our agents in their country, and we have to make sure that our cooperation is strengthened and deepened over time and do that in a way that is respectful of Mexico….REALLY????

    And, to say ICE Agents in Mexico aren't there for law enforcement purposes so they don’t need to be armed. Come on, they have a big neon sign on them that scream US law officer. Then they need the weapons to protect themselves or don’t send them and put the military on the border with orders to defend our country with whatever force necessary.

  • Th_max50

    delta425

    over 3 years ago

    226 Comments

    These murders need the death penalty

  • 309

    Hbryant188

    over 3 years ago

    594 Comments

    I believe LEO's need to take action and march on washington and demand that the US do something to stop this.

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    philfroggy

    over 3 years ago

    1564 Comments

    I agree with my brothers and sisters here that this is domestic terrorism and that the United States need to turn the heat up for those responsible.

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    Mcdonnal

    over 3 years ago

    386 Comments

    Obama and Hillary are too busy providing aid and intelligence to the Muslim Brotherhood in Lilbya to take any notice of this threat to our lawmen fighting a war on our own borders. We are soon going to have to answer the call for volunteers to help Texas and Arizona deal with these predators. I for one am ready, willing and able to go. Eric Holder will probably label us as racist terrorists and have his FBI hunt us down as threats to the peace and stability of the the nation.

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