Special Agent Jaime J. Zapata. Photo via ICE.
The Mexican Army arrested six Los Zetas cartel members on Wednesday in connection with the attack on two federal agents a week ago, resulting in the death of Special Agent Jaime Zapata.
Among the captured suspects is reputed Zetas cell leader Julian Zapata Espinoza who is nicknamed "El Piolín" (Tweety) and allegedly responsible for the homicide of Special Agent Zapata, reports the El Paso Times.
While traveling in the central state of San Luis Potosi, on Feb. 15, Zapata Espinoza apparently led the attack on special agents Zapata and Victor Avila Jr. The agents' vehicle was apparently mistaken for that of a rival cartel.
The Mexican military raided four safe houses, capturing the Zetas, and seizing five rifles, a handgun, an undisclosed amount of cash and five vehicles, including one that is bulletproof.
The arrests came at the same time as federal and local law enforcement agencies launched coordinated raids led by the Drug Enforcement Administration in all 50 states against Mexican cartel associates and their business partners. The raids, known as "Operation Bombadier" or "Operation Fallen Hero," began after Zapata's Tuesday memorial, reports CBS News.
"We are not just going after Zetas, we are going after all cartels," DEA Special Agent Carl Pike told the Houston Chronicle. "We want all the cartels to realize this. It is the schoolyard mentality - a bully situation. The cartels have pushed - if you don't push back, you become the victim. U.S. law enforcement is not going to become the victim."
In Oakland County, Mich., a multi-agency task force raided the homes of gang members believed to be connected to the attack on the two agents. No arrests were made, reports the Detroit Free-Press.
In Houston, the feds reported 33 arrests while serving warrants. A narcotics officer donning tactical gear was wounded after returning gunfire from a suspect. Houston Police Officer Nainash Patel was shot once in the elbow and once in the hip.
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