February 17, 2011 / 9:53 PM / 9 years ago

U.S. denounces killing of agent in Mexico

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata, was shot and killed in the line of duty after he was attacked by unknown assailants while driving between Monterrey, Mexico, and Mexico City. REUTERS/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is “outraged” by an attack on two U.S. immigration and customs agents in Mexico that left one officer dead, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Thursday.

Napolitano said Mexico was leading the investigation into the shooting death on Tuesday of the Customs and Immigration Enforcement agent, which came amid spiraling violence between Mexican drug cartels and security forces.

Another agent was shot and wounded in the leg during the attack on a major highway.

Napolitano told a Senate committee that the United States had formed a joint Justice Department and Homeland Security task force to help the investigation.

“I can speak for the entire administration when I say we are not only saddened by the loss of an agent but we are outraged by this act of violence against an officer of the United States,” she said.

“And make no mistake - justice will be brought to those involved,” she said. “We owe nothing less to the memory of Agent (Jaime) Zapata and to those who are still on the job in Mexico. We remain relentless in our efforts to keep our borders secure and to assist Mexico in breaking up the cartels that are plaguing that country.”

In a separate news conference, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said officials would look into whether the policy barring American law enforcement officers from carrying guns in Mexico needed to be changed.

Reporting by Deborah Charles and James Vicini; Editing by Xavier Briand

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