WASHINGTON (AP) — An accused Mexican drug cartel member has pleaded guilty in the killing and wounding of two U.S. agents in Mexico.
Julian Zapata Espinoza pleaded guilty Thursday to the February 2011 shootings of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He faces up to life in prison.
Agent Jaime Zapata, of Brownsville, was killed and his colleague Victor Avila, of El Paso, was wounded in the highway shooting.
Several family members of the victims were in the courtroom, including Jaime Zapata’s parents.
Trey Martinez, a Brownsville attorney represent the Zapata and Avila families, said the families were pleased by today's events.
The family is expected to release a statement later today.
Judge Royce Lamberth said the U.S. agreed not to seek the death penalty in exchange for Mexico’s extradition of Zapata Espinoza.
The Mexican army has said Zapata Espinoza mistakenly believed Jaime Zapata was part of a rival gang.