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article imageUS government offers $5 million reward for ICE agent killers

By Kim I. Hartman     Mar 30, 2011 in Crime
Washington - A trio of government agencies have announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the individuals who fired on two US Immigration and Customs officers in February, killing one agent and wounding the other.
The State Department along with the Justice Department and Homeland Security have joined forces in their efforts to apprehend the suspects allegedly responsible for the incident that claimed the life of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of Special Agent Victor Avila.
According to the State Department, "Zapata and Avila were ambushed in Mexico on Feb. 15, 2011, as they were traveling in their U.S. government-issued vehicle from the state of San Luis Potosi to Mexico City. Mexican authorities have detained several individuals in connection with this incident and the investigation continues at this time."
ABC News reported the arrest in March of a man who allegedly purchased one of the guns used in the deadly assault against the agents. "The firearm was traced by ATF to Otilio Osorio," who was one of three men arrested in East Lancaster, Texas. Ballistic testing has confirmed it was one of the three firearms fired at the vehicle driven by the ICE agents.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced last month that a joint task force was formed to investigate and prosecute those responsible. She commended today's announcement by the State Department.
“This reward reflects the U.S. government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that all those responsible for the murder of Special Agent Zapata are brought to justice,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We encourage anyone with information about this case to contact authorities.”
The U.S. reward is being offered through the State Department's Narcotics Rewards Program. More information on rewards being offered under the program can be found on the Rewards for Justice website. The Narcotics Rewards Program was established by Congress in 1986 to assist in identifying major drug traffickers in the United States' on-going war against drugs.
"The FBI has established a 24-hour tip line to process information. Individuals in the United States with info are encouraged to call 1-866-859-9778. Individuals in Mexico can provide tips by calling +001 800-225-5324. Spanish language speakers will be available. Anyone wishing to provide leads by email can do so by visiting the FBI website."
The Mexican government has also announced an additional reward of up to 10 million pesos for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for the murder of Zapata. Individuals can call (55) 53-46-15-44 and (55) 53-46-00-00, extension 4748 in Mexico City or 01-800-831-31-96 outside of the country. Information about the Mexican government's reward can be found in Spanish on their website.
"All information provided to the United States government in regards to this case is considered to be confidential," according to the State Department announcement.
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