A suspect in the murder of a federal immigration agent has been extradited from Mexico to the United States to face charges in Washington federal district court, the Justice Department said today.
The suspect, Julian Zapata Espinoza, was charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for his alleged role in the February shooting death of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata.
A grand jury in Washington in April indicted Espinoza, known as “Piolin,” on four charges, including one count of murder and one count of attempted murder for the shooting of ICE agent Victor Avila.
“This prosecution exemplifies our unwavering effort to prosecute those who committed this heinous offense against U.S. law enforcement agents,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. said in a prepared statement. “We will not rest until those responsible for the murder of Agent Zapata and the wounding of Agent Avila are brought to justice.”
The indictment (PDF) against Espinoza was unsealed today. Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the defendant held without bail pending trial. Espinoza’s next court hearing is Jan. 25.
Zapata was attacked and killed while driving between Monterrey, Mexico, and Mexico City, ICE said in a statement. Zapata joined ICE in 2006. At the time of his death, he was serving in ICE's attaché office in Mexico City.