Jose Emanuel Garcia Sota and Jesus Ivan Quezada Piña were found guilty of murdering ICE Agent Jaime Zapata Thursday by a federal jury. Both men are Mexican nationals and part of Los Zetas drug cartel. They will be expedited to the United States to face charges.
“I applaud today’s verdict and hope that it provides some measure of solace to the victims and their families,” Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said. “Six years after these defendants ambushed and murdered Special Agent Jaime Zapata and seriously wounded Special Agent Victor Avila in Mexico, ICE remains committed to ensuring all those responsible for this cowardly and brutal attack are brought to justice. To that end, we are deeply grateful to the Government of Mexico, the Department of Justice, and all our partners involved in the pursuit and prosecution of these criminals. This serves as a reminder that we will not relent in our mission to ensure the safety and security of Americans, and we are unwavering in our resolve to locate and apprehend those who target the brave men and women of law enforcement, wherever they are. We continue to honor the memory of Special Agent Zapata with our steadfast commitment to eradicate the transnational criminal organizations that threaten the safety and security of our nation.”
Zapata was murdered in February 2011 while driving on assignment in Mexico. Sota and Pina also attempted to murder ICE Agent Victor Avila, who was in the same vehicle as Zapata. Zapata was from Brownsville, Texas.
“Drug cartels bring death and destruction across our Southern border and sell drugs that take lives all across America,” Attorney General Sessions said. “The work our ICE officers do every day to keep these criminals out of our country and secure our border is heroic and makes all of us safer. Today’s conviction of two cartel members in the horrific murder of ICE agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico is the next step in the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to dismantle the cartels and bring them to justice.”
In March an inspector general report confirmed the failure of the Obama Justice Department to arrest known straw purchasers working for the Zeta cartel, similar to tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious, also lead to Zapata's murder.
“I began asking questions about the shady operations of the ATF and its gunwalking operations more than six years ago. Congress is still in litigation regarding Fast and Furious to understand the full extent of what happened and how the Obama administration attempted to avoid congressional oversight, and now four and a half years after my request for an IG investigation we’re finally learning more from the Inspector General about another botched operation," Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who has been heavily investigating Obama's Department of Justice for illegal gun trafficking for years, released in a statement. "Sadly, the information provided by whistleblowers appears to be proven true once again. ATF did indeed fail to seize illegal firearms that later turned up at a crime scene in Mexico, trafficked by the same suspects who had previously sold two firearms used in the February 15, 2011, attack on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Mexico. The circumstances look all too familiar and seem to be part of a pattern of recklessness that failed to recognize the consequences of allowing firearms to get in the hands of the cartels.”