Details continue to emerge after the Feb 15th attack outside of San Luis Potosi in which the two agents driving in an armoured Chevy Suburban with US Diplomatic plates were forced off the road by as many as 15 assailants following in multiple vehicles. ICE special agent Jaime Zapata was killed in the attack while special agent Victor Avila was shot in both legs and airlifted to Mexico City before being flown to Houston, TX and treated there.
The agents were unarmed during the attack, as Mexico prohibits foreign law enforcement officers from carrying weapons inside the country. Investigators discovered as many as 83 bullet casings at the scene of the shooting.
Zapata and Avila stopped at a Subway along the highway for lunch. As they left the restaurant, an SUV closed in on their Suburban from behind, tailing the agents.Within a week of the deadly ambush, soldiers from the Mexican Army arrested six Los Zetas members in San Luis Potosi.
Zapata tried to speed up, but the SUV kept pace and pulled up side-by-side. The passengers flashed assault rifles at the agents and sped ahead down the highway, out of sight.
A second vehicle came from behind, tailing the agents until they met the first SUV they’d seen minutes before.
The two vehicles had boxed in the agents on the highway and crawled to a stop. Gunmen surrounded the agents’ Suburban.
“They were screaming ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!,” one U.S. law enforcement official, briefed but unauthorized to speak on the case, told The Monitor.
The agents showed their U.S. diplomatic papers to the gunmen, showing they were federal agents. But the gunmen refused to relent.
Zapata shifted the vehicle in park, which automatically unlocked its doors. The gunmen tried to pull the agents from the vehicle. But they managed to close the doors.
Zapata’s window was open a crack, allowing the gunmen to stick an AK-47 assault rifle and a pistol through the opening. They “shot indiscriminately,” the official said, striking Zapata several times in the abdomen and Avila twice in the leg.
Zapata Espinoza, aka 'el Piolin' or 'Tweety Bird' because of his short stature, was identified by Mexican military officials as a leader of a Los Zetas hit team based around San Luis Potosi.
A spokesman with the Mexican Army said that Espinoza claims to have mistaken the Suburban as a vehicle for a rival cartel, despite the diplomatic plates and Zapata and Avila identifying themselves as US Agents. Members of Mexico's Armed Forces have arrested the local leader of Los Zetas in Coahuila over the weekend.
Special Agent Zapata was laid to rest on Feb 22nd in Brownsville, TX.
GUERRERO: Gunmen in the resort city of Acapulco targeting taxicabs killed at least a dozen people last weekend- nine cabbies and three passengers according to officials. Police in the state of Guerrero arrested four suspects carrying guns, grenades and a machete that they believe was used to decapitate some of the victims.
Gang members in Acapulco have been known to recruit cabbies to transport narcotics or simply extort money from them. The attacks came just hours before a popular international tennis tournament was set to take place in Acapulco.
Authorities had also recovered the bodies of four men whose hands and feet were bound with duct tape from near the Guerrero state capital of Chilpancingo. Judging from the bruising on the victim's bodies, its thought they gang members tossed them from a 600ft tall bridge while they were still alive.