Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, February 28, 2011

ATF: Gun in US agent's death traced to Texas man

TERRY WALLACE, Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Three people suspected of smuggling guns to Mexico were arrested in a Dallas suburb on Monday after federal investigators traced the gun used in the killing of a U.S. agent in Mexico to one of them, officials said.

Agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested the suspected gun smugglers in morning raids in the southern Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Texas, ATF spokesman Tom Crowley said. Crowley referred questions on other details to the U.S. Justice Department in Washington. A department spokeswoman said no statement was planned for Monday.

The ATF said the gun was used in a Feb. 15 shooting of two federal agents who were driving on a highway near the northern city of San Luis Potosi on Feb. 15. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and agent Victor Avila was wounded.

Dangers higher for federal agents
By Jason Buch

As they cruised the streets of Matamoros, Mexico, with an informant in November 1999, a pair of U.S. federal agents were forced off the road and surrounded by cartel gunmen.

In what has become a legendary showdown between U.S. agents and narcos, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Joe Dubois and FBI agent Daniel Fuentes talked their way out of the jackpot, convincing the gunmen — including Gulf Cartel leader Osiel Cárdenas Guillén — that harming them would bring down the wrath of the United States.

That incident stands in stark contrast to the Feb. 15 attack on two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Presumed cartel gunmen forced Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila off the road in Mexico's San Luis Potosí state. Like Dubois and Fuentes, the two ICE agents reportedly tried to negotiate with the gunmen. But as soon as they cracked the window to parley, one of the gunmen shoved the barrel of his weapon into the car; Zapata was killed, and Avila was wounded.

Alleged members of the Zetas drug gang who have been accused of the killing said that although the agents were traveling in a vehicle with diplomatic license plates, they thought the men were rival cartel members. It was the first time in more than 20 years that a U.S. agent was killed in the line of duty in Mexico.

Those who follow U.S. law enforcement activity in Mexico and on the border say the danger to federal agents has increased since Dubois and Fuentes stood down the gunmen in Matamoros. Criminal organizations have grown beyond their leaders' control, and conflicts between cartels have become more frequent and more violent, raising the stakes for traffickers and making it more dangerous for federal agents.

Zapata's death comes on the heels of a Border Patrol agent's killing in Arizona, a suspected Guatemalan drug trafficker with ties to a Mexican cartel accused of offering money to kill U.S. agents in his country and the home invasion of an ICE agent in San Antonio.

“It is more dangerous now than it was 10 years ago,” said Alonzo Peña, a former deputy director of ICE. “(Mexican) President (Felipe) Calderón courageously tried to take on the cartels to break their impunity. Because of that action, unfortunately, a consequence has been that the cartels are fighting back. They're threatened by the government, and they're also threatened by rival cartels, and that has somewhat changed the landscape in terms of the violence.”

In the case of the San Antonio ICE agent, masked gunmen broke into his house near Shavano Park on Jan. 13. One of the men held his wife at gunpoint and groped her while the other ransacked the house, according to a police report.

Police say they're investigating the incident as a robbery. But Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, said evidence — the gunmen had their gloves taped to their jackets, they asked for the agent by name and they showed up at a time he was normally home — makes him believe that it wasn't a random robbery attempt.

“We definitely think this guy was targeted based on his job,” Crane said.

“I think that that's the direction this whole thing is headed in,” he added. “I think things are escalating. I think (the gangs) are getting a little bit more gutsy.”

In response to the attack on Avila and Zapata, U.S. law enforcement officials made raids across the country last week, seizing drugs and guns and making arrests.

The heads of criminal organizations on both sides of the border understand that attacking federal agents brings unwanted attention and intense law enforcement scrutiny and hurts their bottom line, said Ray Leal, a criminal justice and criminology professor at St. Mary's University.

But the organizations have grown so large that the bosses have trouble controlling their underlings, Leal said.

“It's like controlling a good-sized military force that's spread out over a large area of territory,” he said. “Who knows who's in charge?”

The fear of drawing U.S. attention isn't always a deterrent for high-level traffickers. Edgar Leonel Estrada Morales, who is accused of being a major pseudoephedrine supplier for Mexico's La Familia cartel, was arrested last month in Guatemala.

An indictment out of a federal court in Virginia accuses Estrada of trying to have two DEA agents and a U.S. Embassy employee in Guatemala killed. He offered $10,000 apiece for the killings, the indictment says.

But most of the recent incidents of violence against U.S. agents appear to involve low-level traffickers who are too quick to pull the trigger. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a December shootout with bandits in Arizona, and a Houston police officer was wounded Thursday as he helped federal agents serve warrants during retribution raids for Zapata's killing.

“We're looking at an increase (in violence),” Peña said. “When they feel like they're cornered or they're threatened, they're going to react.”



  1. So much for the 90 percent myth right? haha

  2. or someone was set up to take the fall for it and the killers go free,

  3. ha ha they had to knock. no kick door this time fellas.


  4. What a surprise. Criminals breaking the law to make a quick buck.

  5. @ cabo yeh it seems like an agents life is worth more then other people like if there super humans or some shit samething with cops here in my city people get killed and its just reported as another murder but like when a cop got killed here its was on the news almost everyday they were offering money threw americas most wanted like if that donut eating cop was made of gold and sure enough they caught the guy that killed the cop they got him in juarez.

  6. Hmmmmmm, the gun used in this terrible crime came fro the US? Notice how all the gun nuts have conspicuously NOT commented?

  7. As of the end of February, the shooting of Terry has not been confirmed as perpetrated by "bandits"; in fact, even Terry's brother suspects there is an attempt at a cover up in the case, and that his brother died by friendly fire, a la Pat Tillman.

    Another fact: 3 of the 4 people initially arrested are in the process of deportation with no charges in the shooting. And the 4th is being held only because he was wounded in the incident, but has not been charged with Terry's murder.

  8. Mexicans smuggling drugs into the US,Mexicans smuggling guns into Mexico, Mexican politicos cheering it all on,show me the money-- To blame killings in Mexico on the guns coming from the US is an obsurd argument typical of the present trend of denying any personal responsibility, WHO CAN WE BLAME for the mess we made.

  9. i am trying to buy all the guns i can to prevent them being sold to fuckfaces who will take them to Mexico...and also to maker sure these anti gun nuts, can't get one..better to keep idiots disarmed

    help end the drug war in a gun and grow your own weed

    how can i say fuck faces in spanish...hmmm, don't think you can...aww fuck it i will just make it up

    caros chingaros...jajajaj..hey it rhymes

  10. Well put, A-12:25.

    'yeh ....... but like when a cop got killed here its was on the news almost everyday they were offering money threw americas most wanted like if that donut eating cop was made of gold'

    We all in the USA live in the Land of the Cult of the Uniforms, where all cops and soldiers are all made of gold in the eyes of the corrupt corporate thugs who rule us in $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$U$$$A.....

  11. @ March 1, 2011 6:00 AM

    You really think that is the weapon they used? Keep drinking the Kool-Aid mijo and re-vote Obama in 2012.

    This weapon was planted to make it harder for the law abiding citizens in purchasing a gun.

    Please correct me if im wrong but El Mileno and other news sources had reported it was an AK muzzle that they poked thru the crack and fired the deadly rounds and not a pistol as reported now.

    Also why would they even keep a pistol in which they had killed a US agent? They knew they were going to catch heat. I would assume they would of had disposed of such weapon. Too fishy if you ask me.

    El Okie-Dokie

  12. Not trying to sound like a smartass but I'm guessing they would still have to proof that they smuggled/sold the guys to cartels right? We don't if the dumbass reported them stolen etc? If you have a license to buy the gun your allowed to carry them anywhere in Texas, even to the border...then oops someone stole it our car...not as easy as it sounds but it is very sad most of those guns come from here.

    I think we are seeing a dimino affect with the Zetas cause of the Billy Badass that killed the agent. Being high on cocaine I'm sure they didn't care who it was when they shot them up. Even if they extradite them over here we cant fry them! US needs to have that policy changed!!!


  13. @March 1, 2011 9:26 AM

    Yeah you would deny that this gun came from the U.S. haha..gun freak!

    March 1, 2011 6:00 AM
    I was going to say the same thing haha...but you beat me to also notice how you get one or two are in complete denial? What a bunch of idiots!!!

  14. @ March 1, 2011 11:03 AM

    Im not a gun freak as a matter of fact I dont even own one single gun or literature about guns. I served in the USA Marine Corps i know how to handle any type of weapon. At this time I dont think i need to own one. But it is my choice not to own one Mija. I support the 2nd amendment. We need to keep our guns so that when the Cartel scum come over and try what they are doing in Mexico we can pick one up from any sporting goods store and have the right to use it on any one trying to take our property away from us in an illegal way or trying to extort us. The only reason I would carry one then is the simple reason these scumbags would end up having an assault rifle. If they would roll up to me face to face it would be a Stephen Seagal scene and im not boasting. Id be breaking necks.

    I bet if we had something go down this minute youd be all pro gun and backing up your neighbor with a gun. I'm pretty sure your the coward type that when it gets intense youd lock up in fear and soil your pants in fesces, ive seen it many times during my years of service.

    El Okie-Dokie

  15. @gun planted ak muzzle in window

    i dont see how a ak-47 can be angled through a window thats cracked open in a SUV and shoot the driver in the gut. it had to be a pistol

  16. I wonder if this was another one of the guns the ATF purposely let through...

    For all the people that think guns from the US are fueling the violence in Mexico, do you think they are buying South Korean hand grenades and Chinese made RPG rocket launchers at US gunshows as well? Because, I've been to some gunshows, and despite trying like crazy, have never been able to buy an RPG or a few frag grenades for my arsenal.

  17. From article "83 Bullet Casings Recovered after Attack"

    "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...Mexican investigators recovered 83 bullet casings along the highway after the attack on the agents, McCaul said."

    SO, I guess they traced the pistol back to the US. Wonder if they will match the grooves on the casings with those on the gun barrel? Also exactly what ties they had in MX... Guess it'll all come out.

  18. @6:00 am
    I may fit the description of what you would call a gun "nut". No I'm not a red neck hillbilly, I'm not even white. I have alway said that some of the guns that cartels use come from the USA, most are sourced in central/south America. I think we have a drug problem on both sides of the border that is causing violence. The gun is only tool used to fight because of the drug problems. Anti gun types may argue that banning guns in the USA would stop the violence in mexico, this is a lie. Just the same way cocaine, meth, heroin get into the USA , contraband weapons would make it to criminals hands, guess who can't defend themselves? The law abiding citizen. This is not Mexico, gun owners here will not take crap from a corrupt police state due to us being well armed.

  19. What's this story of "the shooting of Terry" bandits, and coverup. Musta missed it. Was this border patrol guy?

  20. Mexican cartels getting 100% of their guns from the USA, would be the same as cartels obtaining 100% of their cocaine from Columbia, simply not true when other sources exist such as Bolivia and Peru.

    You yourself sound like the complete idiot around here, make a valid argument instead of calling us idiots. Im not white but I do value my second amendment rights and know how Americans being armed in WW2 prevented the lower 48 from being invaded. Back up your crap. I could think you are one of the idiots who voted for Obama because you watched too much MTV and he is black. Por favor buscate una vida real.

    NRA member
    SCI member
    Illinois state rifle association member
    Miembro de club de tiro y caza atotonilco el alto Jalisco

  21. Look up CBS report "project gunrunner" on YouTube if you want to see how our great federal government let thousands of guns get into the wrong hands on both sides of the border. Seems like its part of a plan to blame law abiding gun owners instead of ATF who is supposed to enforce the law and bot let guns walk accros the border

  22. @Layla2

    hihihihhiiii my friend :)

    just to let you know when testing guns

    they match casings to the marks the firing pin/ejection mechanisim left

    and test bullets heads to the grooves in the gunbarrel

    hope you have a nice day my friend ^^(korean smiley face)

  23. Layla2 said...

    From article "83 Bullet Casings Recovered after Attack"

    "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...Mexican investigators recovered 83 bullet casings along the highway after the attack on the agents, McCaul said."

    Thanks Layla2 I thought i had read that they stuck an AK through the window crack.

    El Okie-Dokie

  24. March 1, 2011 1:16 PM

    Two thumbs up, to you! En buena onda piensas bien. Suerte amigo.


  25. I would like to know why the Mexican authorities, especially the military, cannot do a better job of controlling/confiscating guns in Mexico?

    Mexico has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Even if you go to the Sec of Defense and buy a gun and do all the paperwork and pay all the bribes - you better have it all with you if you are caught carrying that gun AND be prepared to pay a bribe to keep it away from la delegacion. And if the gun is not legal, you are screwed, you are going to jail, you have a problem. So why does the Mexican Army have such a hard time? why can't they just raid/search everywhere for guns and confiscate them all?

    Because they are in cahoots with the criminals. Because they sell confiscated guns back to the criminals. Because they arrange for their arsenals to be "robbed" for a price.

    Yes the US must do a better job of gun control but the ATF has a hell of a lot harder set of laws to deal with than does the Mexican authorities.

    IMO it's another Mexican excuse. A lot of Mexicans are making a lot of money from drugs, murder, extortion, kidnapping, etc. money they use to pay off the Army/cops in a corrupt society. You can't trust anyone in Mexico and it's always been like that. At least since I lived in DF in the 1960s.

  26. @ El okie dokie

    So what about the Corps? I served too...does it make you special or something, do you see me boasting or throwing that out there?? Do you want a fu**in cookie or something? Wow big deal. I'm all about the 2nd amendment where the hell do you see me saying the 2nd amendment should be ban?? No where. Stop assuming shit. But I do think that if your buying more then 3 guns per month their should be a red flag thrown up?? The problem is many of these guns are getting in criminal hands..and these guns are coming from the U.S...that's my problem..their should be more control over who should get them. And no I wouldn't be that coward I did my time in the service and seen plenty of action as a matter of fact. You were prob one of those terminal lances that out right??

    @ March 1, 2011 1:16 PM
    My first thing is what the F**k does it matter if your white or not? You could be black or Hispanic for all I care hahahaha...stop making this a race where did I state you idiots were white did I? NO!!!! I'm the one making "invalid arguments" but what the hell is this "who voted for Obama because you watched too much MTV and he is black." Wow real smart statement there racist pompous prick!!

  27. @At least since I lived in DF in the 1960s.

    These are different times old timer.

    why can't they just raid/search everywhere for guns and confiscate them all? Why don't we do that in the U.S. because its called constitutional rights same as Mexico, ever heard of it? You were probably one of those dumb Mexicans that still lack an education till this day.

  28. "So why does the Mexican Army have such a hard time? why can't they just raid/search everywhere for guns and confiscate them all?"

    They are laws similar to the US in mexico against unreasonable search and seiezure. Your argument is about as bright as me saying "why doesnt the US goverment raid every home in the states to find and size drugs".

    Major Fail.

  29. To 6:00 a.m you can talk all your stupidity about " gun nuts" that you want, people with commonsense no they have to be able to protect themselves from the one percent of the population that is behind all the crime....and yoi would be the first one to scream for this "gun nut" to come save you if you were gettimg raped...but the thing is I wouldnt waste my time protecting you because if you had your way I wouldnt be able to protect myself or my I hope they're kind enough to lube up for you....

  30. @3:32 pm
    Seems that most of you anti gun types think that responsible gun owners come in the color" white" this is not true.

    You response is laughable and you failed once again.


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