Today marks the 10th anniversary of the ambush and murder of ICE-HSI Special Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico. He was killed by narcoterrorists with the drug cartel Los Zetas and his partner Victor Avila was seriously wounded. Some of the weapons used by the narcoterrorists were walked to Mexico as part of the Obama-Biden Administration’s Operation Fast and Furious.
Victor Avila was our guest tonight on the Polite Society Podcast. He spoke about the ambush and the aftermath.
His interview starts at the 10 minute mark and runs to about the 40 minute mark. We had some audio difficulty towards the end due to winter storm-related power issues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.
Last year, the US Office of Special Counsel issued a report that stated Agents Zapata and Avila received insufficient support for their mission in Mexico.
The investigation, conducted by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, substantiated that ICE officials failed to provide the agents additional support for their mission from either U.S. personnel or Mexican law enforcement. The agency also failed to properly brief and prepare the agents in advance of the assignment to discuss the cargo, security measures, and any other relevant information. The report confirmed that there was “a known lack of diligence with regard to the maintenance of the ICE armored vehicles.” For example, it was known prior to the incident that the agents’ armored vehicle did not have properly functioning tracking equipment.
The investigation revealed that, at the time of the attack, management lacked specific policies and procedures for the execution of the agency mission in Mexico. For example, the agency lacked formalized policies with respect to travel; did not provide counter threat training to those stationed in Mexico; and did not provide armored vehicle training to employees in Mexico. Additionally, the Mexico City office suffered from weak operational security, which was evident in the lack of planning and execution for the trip taken by Agent Avila and Agent Zapata.
One thing that stood out in our interview with Victor was that some of the records from the Department of Justice regarding Operation Fast and Furious are still locked up. They were initially kept sealed under the Obama Administration’s claim of executive privilege. Despite President Trump’s pledge to the Terry family to release them, they still have never been released and I’m sure President Biden will make sure they never see the light of day.
Victor has written a book on his efforts to get the truth released among other things. It is called Agent Under Fire: A Murder and a Manfesto. I just ordered my copy tonight.