ICE agent shot to death near Mexico City identified, 2nd agent wounded

Posted: Updated:

MEXICO CITY - Two immigration agents from the United States were shot in Mexico City on Tuesday.

The agents work for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

The slain agent has been identified as Jaime Zapata, who was based at the Laredo, Texas office. According to ICE Director John Morton, Zapata served on both  the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit and the Border Enforcement Security Task Force.

Both Zapata and the other agent, whose name has not been released, were shot in the line of duty. They reportedly were in an armored vehicle with diplomatic plates that was en route to Monterrey from Mexico City when it was forced off the well-traveled road.

Certain highways in the region are controlled by drug cartels and the cartels set up blockades at times as a show of force.

Zapata and the other agent reportedly identified themselves as diplomats as they were surrounded by a group of 10 people who then opened fire.

The wounded agent is reportedly in stable condition.

Mexican officials are vowing to work with the U.S. Embassy to find the gunmen.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano released a statement saying she is saddened. “Any act of violence against our ICE personnel is an attack against all of those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety,” Napolitano said.

Morton said investigators are working with Mexican law enforcement to bring the gunmen to justice.

Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday a joint task force between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, which will be led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both agencies will work with Mexico in tracking down the suspects and bring them to justice.