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Monday, July 23, 2012

Parents of Murdered ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, ICE Agent Victor Avila File Claims Against ATF, ICE, FBI

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata
The Brownsville Herald reported on June 20, 2012 that murdered ICE agent Jaime Zapata's parents and ICE agent Victor Avila, who was injured in the same ambush that killed Zapata, have filed negligence claims of $62.5 million against ATF, ICE, and the FBI.
The claims allege that, in a Texas operation similar to Arizona's Fast and Furious, guns were allowed to "walk" into Mexico, some of which were later used to kill ICE agent Jaime Zapata and injure fellow ICE agent Victor Avila on February 15, 2011.  U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has said she doesn’t know if the weapons used to kill Zapata and injure Avila are tied to the gunwalking operation.  The two agents were returning to Mexico City after a meeting in San Luis Potosí when they were ambushed by members of the Zetas cartel.
Victor Avila (with crutches) and wife at
the funeral of Jaime Zapata. Photo credit:
Delcia Lopez/ASSOCIATED PRESS,
via Statesman.com.
According to the Herald, the claims notices also state:
Ignoring a written directive specifying the extraordinary dangers of this area and the concerns expressed by several agents, the supervisors required Jaime and Victor to make this dangerous trip...
"Their failures were not only negligent, but in violation of their own policies and procedures...
“The concerns expressed by other agents was that the trip would unnecessarily risk the lives of two young agents,” the notices state, adding that the equipment could easily have been shipped through the diplomatic courier service assigned to the embassy...
"When the agents were ambushed in the armored vehicle they were using, the doors unlocked unexpectedly because of a flaw, giving the attackers easy access to the agents...
"Jaime bled to death and Victor called for help...”

Avila recently described the ambush by the Zeta cartel, comprised of former Mexican military special forces as "pure evil." Even at the Mexican hospital, he feared that they would come back and finish the job. (Statesman.com)

Brian Terry Foundation here.

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