- The Washington Times - Monday, July 4, 2011

Mexican law enforcement arrested a co-founder of the Los Zetas drug cartel in the brutal highway-ambush killing of an unarmed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in February, Mexico’s Public Security Ministry announced Monday.

Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, 35, described as “one of the founders of the Zetas criminal organization” and the gang’s third most powerful leader, was taken into custody Sunday in the Mexico City suburb of Atizapan, “without firing a shot.”

He was one of Mexico’s most-wanted men, and the U.S. Justice, State and Homeland Security departments had announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

A Mexican police officer who was with Mr. Rejon Aguilar also was detained, and officers seized weapons, money, documents and communication equipment.

Mexican officials paraded Mr. Rejon Aguilar before reporters Monday in Mexico City. 

 

 

Agent Jaime Zapata, 32, was killed Feb. 15 while he and his partner, Victor Avila Jr., were driving from Monterrey to Mexico City, where they were assigned to ICE’s attache office.

 

 

Drug cartel members ambushed the agents near San Luis Potosi, about 250 miles north of Mexico City. The shooters forced the agents’ vehicle from the roadway at what appeared to be a highway checkpoint and then opened fire, some using AK-47 assault rifles. More than two dozen members of Los Zetas have been arrested in the case, including Julian Zapata Espinoza, identified as the gang’s cell leader in San Luis Potosi, and the gang’s suspected paymaster, Mario “El Mayito” Jimenez.

Mr. Zapata was hit by five bullets in his chest and died en route to a hospital. Mr. Avila was shot twice in the leg and survived. Neither of the agents was armed, as the Mexican government does not allow U.S. law enforcement personnel to carry weapons.

U.S. and Mexican law enforcement authorities have said the two agents were southbound on the four-lane federal toll highway in an armored blue Chevrolet Suburban with diplomatic plates when they stopped about 2:30 p.m. at what appeared to be a checkpoint with men dressed in camouflage and carrying automatic weapons.

The authorities said Mr. Zapata had rolled down his window to identify himself and his partner, in both Spanish and English, as American citizens and diplomats when the shooting erupted.

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