Mexico Arrests Gang Member Linked to US Agent’s Murder

10 Mar 2011

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Mexican Police guard the US Embassy vehicle after it came under attack by unknown gunmen


Mexican officials have arrested an alleged financier of the Zetas drug cartel linked to the murder of a US federal agent in Mexico last month, security officials said Wednesday.

According to AFP, federal police detained Mario Jimenez Perez, also known as "Mayito" and identified as "a financier for the Zetas," on Sunday in central San Luis Potosi State, the security ministry said in a statement.

Jimenez Perez "has been linked to the murder of a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent," it said.

Jaime Zapata, 32, and a second ICE agent, Victor Avila, came under fire while driving from San Luis Potosi city to Mexico City on February 15 in a region plagued by drug violence.

Mexico's military detained Julian Zapata Espinosa, alias 'El Piolin' (Tweety), on February 23, under suspicion of killing the ICE agent and named as the leader of a group of hitmen for the Zetas.

Several days later they arrested Sergio Antonio Mora Cortez, another suspected member of the Zetas alleged to be El Piolin's boss.

Sixteen suspected drug gang hitmen were also detained in Sunday's operation, the statement said.

Zapata's killing provoked outrage in the United States and strained close ties between the two countries in Mexico's drug war.

More than 34,600 people have been killed in rising drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed soldiers and federal police to take on organized crime.

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