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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

U.S. National Charged with Attempted Murder of U.S. Consulate Official in Mexico

A U.S. national was deported from Mexico to the United States and arrested yesterday on a criminal complaint charging him with the attempted murder of a diplomat stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Director Bill A. Miller of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) made the announcement.

Zia Zafar, 31, of Chino Hills, California, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person. Zafar made his initial appearance in federal court today and is scheduled for a detention hearing on Jan. 13, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson of the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 6, 2017, Zafar disguised himself and followed the Vice Consul of the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara through a parking garage to his vehicle. After the Vice Consul got into his car and drove towards the garage exit, Zafar allegedly shot him once in the chest and fled. The Vice Consul was taken to a local hospital, where he currently remains. Zafar was subsequently detained by Mexican authorities.

The charges in the criminal complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The FBI and DSS are investigating the case in close cooperation with Mexican authorities and with assistance from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Trial Attorney Jamie Perry of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Sloan of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.

The Department of Justice gratefully acknowledges the government of Mexico, to include the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Procuraduria General de la Republica, Fiscalia del Estado de Jalisco and Instituto Nacional de Migracion for their extraordinary efforts, support and professionalism in responding to this incident.

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Updated March 17, 2017