Post image for Shooting of immigration officers highlights dangers of Mexico’s drug war

Shooting of immigration officers highlights dangers of Mexico’s drug war

by Jorge Hernandez on February 16, 2011

One agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was killed yesterday and another was wounded after a confrontation with Mexican drug dealers on Tuesday. This incident has highlighted the perils of the ongoing drug wars in Mexico, according to The Associated Press.

Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said that the move wouldn't discourage U.S. officers from assisting Mexico in combating the cartel-related violence.

"Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel… is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety," she said in a statement, the news source reports. "We remain committed in our broader support for Mexico's efforts to combat violence within its borders."

The agents were driving down a highway between Mexico City and the northern town of Monterrey when they were halted at a checkpoint. After coming to a stop, unidentified gunmen opened fire.

ICE agents generally investigate reports of weapon and drug smuggling, as well as money laundering. Some officials are concerned that the event occurred so far north, as the area has previously been relatively peaceful.

"This worries us very much because this type of incident doesn't happen very often in San Luis Potosi," an anonymous police officer told the news source.

The agent who was killed was named Jaime Zapata, a 2005 graduate from the University of Texas at Brownsville. He had previously worked for the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit and the Border Security Enforcement Security Task Force.

The other agent's name was not released.

Mexico's drug wars have become increasingly violent over the past few years, which has discouraged many from visiting Mexico City, although the resorts have been relatively unaffected, according to International Living magazine.

Tourists who visit the country's capital, however, are now given special police escorts to ensure their safety as they travel through the city, Travel Trade Gazette reports.

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