Answers have been elusive on what may have contributed to the February 15, 2011, ambush that killed a U.S. agent and injured another while on assignment in Mexico.
Was Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata’s death due in part to negligence by his supervisors? Do the U.S. gun shops that sold the weapons used in the attack share some responsibility? What about the armored vehicle company whose SUV failed to protect the agents?
Now, the family of the slain agent, in a $75 billion lawsuit filed Tuesday, alleges that all these and more were responsible for Zapata’s death.
A second immigration agent, Victor Avila, was wounded when he and Zapata were ambushed on a highway in San Luis Potosi. The two were traveling to Mexico City in an armored car with diplomatic plates. They were run off the road and attacked from two vehicles by gunmen who fired indiscriminately, Mexican authorities said.
Avila is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names more than 20 defendants, including the U.S. government, the straw purchasers who acquired the weapons used, and the federal firearms officials who oversaw the flawed “Fast and Furious” operation aimed at tracking the flow of weapons across the U.S.-Mexican border.
Some people, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, have asked whether a “gun-walking” program similar to Fast and Furious played a role in Zapata’s killing.
The lawsuit alleges that as early as 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had identified brothers Otilio and Ranferi Osorio and Kelvin Morrison as straw purchasers for Mexican cartels, but did not act to stop them from purchasing more weapons, a pair of which ultimately found their way to the crime scene in Mexico. …