Last Updated:September 1 @ 10:14 am

Slain ICE agent's parents allege cover-up in lawsuit

By Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas)

The parents of slain ICE Special Agent Jaime J. Zapata and his partner, ICE Special Agent Victor Avila Jr., filed a civil lawsuit in federal court Tuesday, alleging a conspiracy, cover-up and negligence in connection with the attack on the agents nearly two years ago in Mexico.

Zapata was killed and Avila seriously injured Feb. 15, 2011, when gunmen, believed to be members of a drug trafficking organization, ambushed them as they drove along Highway 57 near Santa Maria del Rio in the northern state of San Luis Potosi.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include the U.S. government, federal agencies, U.S. and Mexico officials, firearms dealers, and what the lawsuit alleges are straw purchasers and gunrunners.

Zapata's mother Mary M. Zapata, individually and as administrator of her son's estate, his father Amador Zapata Jr. and Avila seek unspecified damages.

They allege the defendants failed to abide by policies and regulations on arms exports, safe travel and oversight of employees. They also make allegations involving issuance of defective vehicles, gunwalking and failure to disclose known dangers involving gunwalking.

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According to the lawsuit, Zapata was killed and Avila injured with firearms originating from gun dealers in the United States.

"At least three firearms were recovered by Mexican authorities investigating the attack and given to the U.S. government. The firearms used were found to have originated in the United States," the lawsuit states.

"ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) concluded that these firearms were in fact used to shoot Agents Zapata and Avila."

The lawsuit also notes that Mexican supervisors instructed Avila and Zapata to drive down the highway known to be patrolled and controlled by a dangerous criminal organization to pick up equipment.

The lawsuit states a security notice had been issued, and in a Feb. 14, 2011, email referencing the packages Avila and Zapata were sent to retrieve, the Department of Homeland Security was informed that several skirmishes between federal forces and drug trafficking organizations had occurred and that sending the package via "pouch" could be utilized.

"Despite opposition by Avila and despite having full knowledge of the dangers present with the package pickup, Mexico supervisors instructed Avila and Zapata to proceed with the directive," and were not escorted, drove in an improperly maintained and defective vehicle with an inoperable GPS and PA system, and flaws that allowed the gunmen to gain access to the vehicle and shoot the agents, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Avila Jr. and Amador Zapata filed pro se, Zapata's mother and the estate are represented by Trey Martinez III with Martinez Barrera Martinez. Other firms noted as representing the plaintiffs are Kittleman, Thomas & Gonzales, and the RAD Law Firm.

The named defendants have not yet responded to the allegations, but initial responses usually consist of a general denial with demand for proof.


(c)2013 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas)

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  1. powertothepeopleComment by powertothepeople
    February 13, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    I feel for the family as they will no doubt run into years of blockades by big brother.

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    • freelynComment by freelyn
      February 13, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

      No doubt, you can’t expect the Government to allow any facts to come out in these cases. The public might just find out how hard they’ve been trying to manufacture a crisis so that they can take our guns away. After all, you can’t abolish the U.S. Constitution without disarming We the People first.

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  2. roystoll2Comment by roystoll2
    February 13, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

    Ah, The “Operation Fast And Furious” cover-up continues and President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are still not behind bars. Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry was also killed as well as over 2000 Mexican citizens, as a direct result of Eric Holder’s and Barack Obama’s agenda to push gun control on legal American gun owners. It back-fired when the targets of the operation notified the BATFE of the attempts to buy weapons illegally. Un-deterred, BATFE ordered them to make the sales saying “they had it under control”. The news is, Obama is still lying and people are still dying! nd the mainstream media IS STILL COVERING IT UP!

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    • KBBComment by KBB
      February 14, 2013 @ 1:32 am

      These parents are doing the right thing. I’ve thought from the beginning of this Fast & Furious debacle that, were I them, I’d sue as many as I could for as much as I could, because that’s the only way to get their attention and make any progress in the investigation of F&F.

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  3. MutantoneComment by Mutantone
    February 13, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    And still the full extent of the “Fast and Furious” and the media still downplays it keeping Obama out of it all:
    If only that were the extent of the “Fast and Furious” agenda Obama’s agenda was to make a reason to further restricting Citizens from having guns to that end
    Rahm Emanuel reports that he knew about the operations while he was at the White House so if he did Holder sure did. Not only high caliber weapons but conversion kits to make semiautomatic weapons full auto, and explosives as well and the makings for grenades and an uncounted number of rocket launchers.
    Operation Gunrunner–in which the government authorized the sale of weapons with the intent of letting these weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, which were used to Kill an American border agent.

    Operation Castaway–in which the government authorized the sale of weapons knowing they would fall into the hands of Honduran gangs, such as MS13 and the Mara Salvatrucha and the rival Mara 18, An estimated 20,590 people died violently here in the last five years, according to the Madrid-based nonprofit Observers of Violence in massive shoot outs to control the drug industry.

    Project Gangwalker the ATF and the DOF allowed the straw purchases of weapons which eventually ended up in the hands of United States gang members in Indiana” Operation Community Shield,” individuals are from El Salvador, three are from Mexico, one is from Honduras and one is from Haiti. ICE said the individuals are members or associates of the following street gangs: MS-13, Sur-13, and Zoe Pound.  Charged in connection with the shooting of an Indianapolis police officer last week are gang members, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office Gonzalez-Ramirez is a member of the Puros Vatos Locos street gang, and Taboada-Perez is a member of the SCT-13 gang. Both have tattoos that express allegiance to those gangs, authorities said. and other weapons have been found at crime scenes in that state and surely have spread out from there to other gangs.

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    • bf39Comment by bf39
      February 13, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

      And obama wants to take guns out of the hands of legal gun owners. How will they protect themselves from the guns from the Fast and Furious gun running. obama and holder both need to be held accountable for Fast and Furious deal.
      I see the news media hasn’t reported this lawsuit. This is the first I have heard about it. Hope the family wins, even if it takes a while.

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    • rzraickComment by rzraick
      February 13, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

      The tyrants want to disarm the people. This is a goal shared by every tyrant in history.

      Fast and furious was a set up to promote this. But instead they were caught. The results of the government’s attempt to stir up support for their confiscation was the killing of hundreds of people in Mexico, and unfortunately two fine young men who our agents.

      The government will do everything to cover this up and hope that we will forget.

      But then a miracle happened. A crazy man shot up a school and killed a lot of innocent people in a gun free zone shooting gallery, and the tyrants wasted no time to use this tragedy for the same agenda.

      Too many people are being killed because of this government. Innocent people on our soil and in other countries.

      These tyrants do not care about human life.

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  4. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    February 13, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    Obama’s got the media running interference for him, he’s not going to answer to anyone. Obama never takes responsibility for his actions, nor those of his administration, he assigns blame. “Leading” from behind!

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  5. willyrhoComment by willyrho
    February 13, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

    The President is complicit in the Gunrunning in Fast & Furious. He is guilty of Gun running, Drug Smuggling and Dealing, murder and high Crimes and Misdemeanors. I never though I would ever see the Chicago Mob in the Presidents Seat. Impeach him now.

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  6. CynComment by Cyn
    February 13, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

    It is really sad that NO ONE in our Federal Government will seriously investagate this incident – and the parents have to ‘sue’ to receive either answers or justice for their son.

    what a corrupt administration…

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    • stormymonday2Comment by stormymonday2
      February 13, 2013 @ 6:22 pm


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  7. vevaComment by veva
    February 13, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    It is good that this suit was filed. Did U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry’s parents also file against the feds? Keep referring to what happened with “Fast and Furious”. This news should be kept in the public’s eye. don’t let it fade away and be forgotten.

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  8. bf39Comment by bf39
    February 13, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    I agree veva. And also we need to keep Benghazi in the public eye also! We lost Americans there too.

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    • KBBComment by KBB
      February 14, 2013 @ 1:37 am

      Yes, and keep Benghazi in the public’s mind so that when Hitlery runs in 2016, it will be the first “accomplishment” on her resume that we can discuss.

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  9. stormymonday2Comment by stormymonday2
    February 13, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

    I hope they win their lawsuit. Eric Holder should not be in the position he is still in. Should be fired in my opinion. Fast & Furious has never been resolved. This administration is getting away with that as they are the Benghazi affair. Getting away with murder more than once. Shame. Terrible corruption in this administration. They should all be impeached.

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    • CarmineComment by Carmine
      February 14, 2013 @ 12:46 am

      No, they should all be doing 25 to life in Sing Sing.

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  10. Cape ConservativeComment by Cape Conservative
    February 13, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

    I don’t believe the gun shop owners should be sued because from what I’ve read, many of them DID contact the government and were told to ignore the law and sell the weapons! This is 10000000% the responsibility of the United States government…with the ulterior motive of disarming LEGAL American gun owners.

    We should all be out there working diligently to increase our Senate members in order to get impeachment proceedings started in 2014! As it is, with Reid in the driver’s seat, we don’t stand a chance.

    The other thing we must do (which I have done for several years) is become a poll worker. We can’t let illegitimate votes taint the elections as has been done in the past. I’m sure the Chicago crowd is working hard now and right up to election day to ensure their victory in 2014. If the quality of workers around the country is anything like the (OH?) woman who bragged about voting twice and voting for several others in her household and encouraging a young relative to also vote TWICE, then we need to contact the local election supervisor and sign up. It’s a long day, but very rewarding…and it is TIME to take America back from the lawbreakers! I KNOW how absentee voting is supposed to take place legally..and there is NO way that someone should be allowed to vote twice…once their name is checked off, no further voting should be allowed. I fault the precinct supervisor who let this happen…ours would never have done so!

    As the young man said on 9/11 – “Let’s Roll” – we MUST take a stand if we want our children and grandchildren to have a country they can be proud of…currently that is not possible.

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    • rzraickComment by rzraick
      February 13, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

      The gunshop owners are no more to blame than a sporting goods shop who sells someone a baseball bat which is used to club someone to death.

      But in this case the tragedies are all a direct result of government action and the gun laws already in place, specificly the gun free zones.

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  11. mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
    February 14, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    I don’t know about all y’all….but it sure sounds like those agents were set-up. Dumbest and deadliest administration ever.

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  12. brassia1Comment by brassia1
    February 14, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

    Unfortunately I doubt the plaintiffs will get anywhere with their law suit. There are haven’t been a more corrupt administration in the history of our country with the media so far up Obama’s rectum they are unable to see and hear anything leave alone report it!

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