WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder today met to discuss the shooting by unknown assailants of two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents in the line of duty yesterday while driving in Mexico.
During their meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder decided to establish 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 and will leverage the investigative capabilities of both agencies to work with Mexico in tracking down the perpetrators and swiftly bring them to justice.
“This joint task force reflects our commitment to bring the investigatory and prosecutorial power of the U.S. Government to bear as we work with the Mexican Government to bring these criminals to justice,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the ICE agents’ families and loved ones, as we are reminded of the risks and sacrifices undertaken every day by the men and women on the frontlines in protecting the safety and security of the American people.”
“The murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the shooting of another ICE agent provide a sad reminder of the dangers American law enforcement officers face every day,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “Working with our Mexican counterparts, we have already launched an aggressive investigation, and this joint task force will ensure that every available resource is used to bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice.”
During their meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder underscored the United States’ commitment to work closely with Mexican law enforcement in full support of the ongoing effort. They also reiterated their commitment to the U.S. government’s broader support for Mexico’s efforts to combat violence within its borders.
Today, Secretary Napolitano also spoke with Mexican Interior Minister Fernando Blake Mora. During the call, Secretary Napolitano emphasized to Minister Blake Mora that violence against DHS personnel in Mexico represents an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety, and will not be tolerated by either country.
In yesterday’s attack, one U.S. law enforcement official, ICE Special Agent Jaime J. Zapata, was critically wounded and died from his injuries. The second agent was shot in the leg and has been discharged from the hospital. More information will be released when it is available.