Photo: Six Zetas Accused of Killing Agent Zapata
UPDATE: Mexican officials have arrested six members of the violent Los Zetas drug cartel in the killing of U.S. federal agent Jaime Zapata including cell leader ‘El Piolin’ or “Tweety Bird” whose real name is Julian Zapata Espinoza. Zapata’s wife was also arrested as well as a Honduran national - they were all hiding out in different residences in San Luis Potosi.
According the Mexican army officials the Zetas were confused on February 15 when Agent Zapata and Special Agent Avila, who was injured, came upon their narcoblockade. The SUV the agents were driving appears to have caused the confusion - though the vehicle had U.S. diplomatic license plates - is a type of SUV commonly used by a rival gang.
After the swift arrest President Barack Obama called President Felipe Calderon late yesterday to thank him for all his efforts in arresting these suspects. The U.S. is seeking to have the 6 extradited to U.S. where they will face the death penalty - Mexico does not have the death penalty.
ORIGINAL STORY: According to AP reports a suspect in the killing of U.S. special immigration agent Jaime Zapata has been captured by the Mexican Army.
The Mexican Defense Department issued a brief statement saying that one of the suspects had been captured – no other details were provided. Agent Zapata was laid to rest yesterday after being shot in Mexico at a ‘narco blockade” last week.
Unofficial sources say Mexican officials are looking for several suspects affiliated with the Zeta drug cartel, that is believed to be behind agent Zapata’s killing. The rapid capture of one of the suspect comes on the heals of Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon anger at the U.S. for criticizing Mexico’s public security forces.
Yesterday, in press interviews Calderon mentioned the numerous cables that have come out through WikiLeaks where the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual notes Mexico’s intelligence system as inadequate and its army poorly equipped to handle the drug cartels.
The cables leaks had nothing to do with the killing of Agent Zapata but rather Calderon felt they undermined the spirit of his Army trying to do the best under the circumstances. He also felt it did not to anything to enhance U.S.-Mexico relations or help in the effort to fight drug trafficking.