February 15, 2011 5:53 PM
McALLEN — Two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents were shot Tuesday in Mexico, officials said.
At least one of the agents was from the Rio Grande Valley, sources said.
ICE officials in Washington issued the following statement:
"Earlier this afternoon, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents assigned to the ICE Attaché office in Mexico City were shot in the line of duty while driving between Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, by unknown assailants. ICE is working with the U.S. State Department, Mexican authorities and other U.S. law enforcement partners to investigate the shooting. Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues."
No further details are available at this time. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available."
The condition of the two agents, who were not identified, was not revealed, according to the Los Angeles Times. However sources close to the matter said both survived the shooting, one was in serious condition and the other suffered less serious wounds.
There were conflicting reports on exactly where in Mexico the agents were shot. But the sources told the Times they were apparently caught in the kind of "narco-blockade" that traffickers and their henchmen routinely set up in cities they are fighting to control, either to block law enforcement or to impede their enemies' movements.
Information from the McClatchy Tribune News Service contributed to this report.
US immigration agent shot dead in Mexico attack
A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent has been shot dead and a second wounded in Mexico.
Officials say the pair, described as "special agents" shot "in the line of duty", were driving between Mexico City and northern city of Monterrey.
An official told AP they had been attacked after stopping at a security checkpoint in San Luis Potosi state.
The attack comes as a US report says a fifth of the Mexico border, some 375 miles (600km), is not properly guarded.
The investigative arm of Congress, the General Accounting Office (GAO), said the area lacked enough border agents to stop illicit activity such as gun running and illegal immigration.
'Line of duty'
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency described the two victims as "special agents" based in the US capital, AFP reports.
The agency said they were "shot in the line of duty" on Tuesday.
The attack occurred some 200 miles (320 km) north of Mexico City, a spokeswoman for the state's public security office told Reuters.
The agency said it was working with the state department, US law enforcement and Mexican authorities to investigate the shooting.
Though there are high levels of violence among members of competing drug cartels within Mexico, US officials are rarely targeted.
However, in March 2010 a US consulate employee, her husband and a Mexican linked to the American consulate were killed by drug gang members in Ciudad Juarez.
In July, it temporarily closed the consulate in the city after receiving unspecified threats.
The GAO report said the US had spent $3bn last year on controlling its southern border.
It said it had been able to increase the area under control by building more fences and almost doubling the number of agents from 10,000 to 17,500.
Security at the US-Mexico border has long been a hot political issue, with many in the Southern United States calling for more to be done to stop drug smugglers and human traffickers from entering the US.
By the CNN Wire StaffFebruary 16, 2011 -- Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT)
(CNN) -- Gunmen opened fire on two U.S. immigration agents in Mexico on Tuesday, killing one and injuring the other, officials said.
The two agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were attacked Tuesday afternoon while driving between Mexico City and Monterrey.
One of the agents was gravely wounded and died later Tuesday. The other was in stable condition after being shot in the arm and leg, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The shooting took place about 23 miles north of downtown Mexico City at approximately 3 p.m. ET, an ICE official said. The official spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation.
The agents, according to the official, were doing "routine work," traveling on a well-traveled highway in an armored car with diplomatic plates. They were forced off the road in Ojo de Aqua and surrounded by a group of more than 10 people.
Prior to the shootings the agents apparently identified themselves as diplomats, the official said.
The shooting provoked a swift condemnation from the U.S. government.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "Let me be clear: Any act of violence against our ICE personnel -- or any DHS personnel -- is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety.
"The full resources of our department are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation," Napolitano said.
"I am deeply saddened by the news," Napolitano said.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, who chairs the chamber's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called the shootings "the latest reminder of the grievous violence south of our border that must be stopped."
One official said the victims, whose identities have not been released, were the first ICE agents to be gunned down in Mexico. According to ICE, the agency has about 30 officers assigned to its office in Mexico City. They work a range of issues including drugs, weapons, currency and immigration.
"ICE is working with the U.S. State Department, Mexican authorities and other U.S. law enforcement partners to investigate the shooting," the agency said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with our colleagues."
ICE Director John Morton said the "tragedy is a stark reminder of the risks cofronted and the sacrifices made by our men and women every day.
Mexican officials also released a statement on the shootings.
"Mexico's government vigorously condemns this serious act of violence, and expresses its solidarity with the United States Government and the families of those attacked," the statement read. "Federal authorities, in coordination with state cooperation, have an ongoing investigation to clarify what happened and bring to justice those responsible."
CNN's Jeanne Meserve and Mike Ahlers contributed to this report