One year later, community remembers ICE agent Jaime Zapata
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:17:03 GMT —
It's been a year since Brownsville native U.S Immigration Customs Enforcement Special Agent was gunned down by alleged Mexican drug cartel members, while on assignment in Mexico.
Since then, a street in Brownsville and a Cameron County Boat Ramp have been named in his honor.
The City of Laredo, where Zapata was once stationed, is also working on a statue to honor the agent. Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas said Zapata TMs death had a major impact in strengthening the unity amongst law enforcement agencies, at all levels.
"We talk about the potential threat of spill-over violence, and certainly all agencies have to work together," Salinas said.
Salinas also said Zapata was a true public servant, and dozens agree as they showed up to St. Luke TMs Catholic Church in Brownsville Wednesday, to honor his memory and support the still grieving family.
Salinas said Zapata, just 26-years-old when he was killed, had a great career ahead. He said it's up to Washington to ensure the many young men and women still protecting the borders are given the resources they need.
"(They need) the best equipment, you know obviously pay, but also everything they need, we need to be there for them, Salinas said. We have to ensure their safety because it's a dangerous job and serving abroad is certainly not an easy job."
U.S. General Consulate in Matamoros Michael Barkin said the risks of living, working and traveling in Mexico continue, with the latest travel warning issued just last week. He said Zapata TMs death was a tough lesson learned, but has brought on a new focus for Americans in Mexico.
"I think we're focused on our mission which is to work with the government in Mexico to combat the threat of transnational criminal organizations, Barkin said. Those efforts continue and are strengthened every day."