A man accused of killing one U.S. immigration agent and wounding another in Mexico in 2011 made his initial appearance in federal court in Washington on Thursday, one day after Mexican authorities extradited him and 12 other defendants to the United States.
Jose Emanuel Garcia Sota, 34, also known as Juan Manuel Maldonado Amezcua or “Safado,” was charged with murder and attempted murder in the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Jaime Zapata in an unsealed four-count indictment from May 2013. Zapata was shot to death in an ambush on a highway near San Luis Potosi in north-central Mexico on Feb. 15, 2011. Another ICE special agent, Victor Avila, survived.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth set a hearing for Oct. 9 for Garcia Sota.
American authorities in May 2013 announced guilty pleas by Los Zetas cartel commander Julian Zapata Espinoza, known as “El Piolin,” then 32, for leading the attack, and by three other members of two alleged drug cartel hit squads on related charges. All face up to life in prison and await sentencing.
Others extradited Wednesday include an alleged former leader of the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels and two high-level members of the Sinaloa and Beltran-Leyva cartels. The extraditions also included suspects in a 2010 attack in Juarez, Mexico, that killed pregnant U.S. consulate worker Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton; her husband, Arthur Redelfs; and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a consulate employee.
In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the extraditions resulted from a June meeting with her Mexican counterpart, Arely Gómez González, to strengthen the fight against international organized crime. The moves came after the embarrassing escape in July of a man called the world’s top drug lord — longtime Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán — from the Mexican high-security prison Altiplano.