Corrected: US, Mexico offer rewards over shooting of US agents

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 2:27 PM
Corrected: US, Mexico offer rewards over shooting of US agents

(Corrects currency conversion)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. and Mexican governments on Wednesday announced multimillion dollar rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting of two U.S. immigration agents.

The United States issued a statement saying it offered a reward of up to $5 million while the Mexican government offered 10 million pesos ($839,000). Both countries set up telephone hotlines for individuals to call if they have information.

In February, two unarmed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were driving in an armored vehicle on a highway from San Luis Potosi to Mexico City when they were ambushed in broad daylight by suspected drug gang members.

One ICE agent, Jaime Zapata, was killed and another agent, Victor Avila, was wounded in the leg in one of the more brazen attacks by drug cartels as they battle with authorities who are trying to crack down on drug and weapons trafficking.

Mexican authorities have already detained more than 30 people in connection with the shooting, including a suspected money man for the Zetas drug cartel arrested earlier this month.

U.S. authorities have traced one of the weapons used in the shooting back to a Texas man who bought the gun last year. He and two others have since been charged by prosecutors for illegally buying guns for others, though they have not been charged for anything related to the shooting in Mexico.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Deborah Charles)