Thursday, December 22, 2011

El Piolin, Zeta Mexican Leader Involved In ICE Agent Zapata's Homicide Charged In Federal Court

Jaime J. Zapata
ICE Special Agent

Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka, "El Piolin" held without bail in connection with ICE Agent Jaime Zapata's homicide.

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 22, 2011

Washington, D.C. - On Wednesday, Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka, "El Piolin" appeared before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia in federal court to face a four count felony indictment in connection with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jaime Zapata's, 32, homicide and the attempted murder of Special Agent Victor Avila. The federal indictment was unsealed on Wednesday. Judge Lamberth ordered Espinoza held without bail and scheduled a court hearing date for January 25.
Espinoza was extradited to the U.S. from Mexico on Wednesday to face federal homicide and attempted murder charges. He admitted to participating in Zapata's murder and Avila's attempted murder on February 15, 2011.
Espinoza's defense argument case will most likely challenge the U.S. Department of Justice attempt to prosecute him for murdering an American employed by the federal government on Mexican soil. The outcome of the Espinoza case would set precedent or Constitutional challenges to determine, if murder suspects abroad could be tried in the U.S. for killing Americans in foreign soil.
Espinoza confessed to Mexican authorities that he is the known leader of the Zeta group, which operated in the San Luis Potosí area and that ICE Agents Zapata and Avila were mistaken as rival drug cartel gang members by driving an armored black SUV.
Along with Espinoza, the Mexican military police arrested, Armando Álvarez Saldaña; Mario Domínguez Realeo, aka, Domingo Díaz Rosas; Jesús Iván Quezada Peña, aka, "El Loco;" Martin Bárcenas Tapia; Rubén Darío Venegas, aka, "El Catracho;"  originally from Honudras; Diana Margarita Guerreo Morales; Roxana Mireya Ríos Velázquez and Magali Chaín Castillo López, the presumed wife of Espinoza. A minor was arrested too according to the Mexican Secretary of Defense (Sedena).
On April 19, a federal grand jury returned a four count felony indictment. Espinoza was charged with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of ICE HSI Special Agent Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of ICE HSI Special Agent Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

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