A D.C. federal appeals court vacated two convictions of Los Zetas cartel assassins who murdered an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent back in 2011.
Jose Emanuel “Zafado” Garcia Sota and Jesus Ivan “Loco” Quezada Pina are the two persons convicted of four counts in 2017, including for the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata, from Brownsville, Texas. The men have been remanded to a lower court and will face limited re-sentencing for the murder and attempted murder of a federal officer. The pair is currently serving life in prison for the killing.
The Washington Examiner reported that the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit came on Jan. 21.
Back in December, Zapata’s parents filed a $25 million dollar wrongful death claim against the U.S. government
“I feel that I owe my son justice, and I still haven’t gotten it,” said Mary Zapata, his mother.
The lawsuit alleges that the weapons used against Zapata originated in Texas. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives claimed in a statement that the agency “has always said that this investigation has no connection whatsoever to Fast and Furious,” which was a botched government-run gun-running operation.
ICE agents Victor Avila and Zapata were driving through San Luis Potosi, Mexico, when two SUVs ran them off of the road. In the ensuing struggle, Zapata was killed, and Avila was injured. Ninety shell casings were found at the scene.
Five other defendants were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to federal charges.
At the time of the initial conviction, Acting ICE Director Thomas Hoffman said, “I applaud today’s verdict and hope that it provides some measure of solace to the victims and their families.”