Posted: Dec 21, 2011 6:35 PM
Updated: Dec 21, 2011 6:57 PM
BROWNSVILLE - The family of slain ICE agent Jaime Zapata is a step closer to justice. His accused killer is now in custody on this side of the border.
Developments in agent Zapata's case have been few and far between. His family feels they reached a milestone Wednesday.
"I'm thinking, ‘My God, they forgot about my son.' So I need to make sure that we get to the bottom of this and that we just get justice for my son," says Mary Zapata, Jaime's mother.
That justice could be within reach for Mary Zapata. It's been 10 months since her son Jaime was killed by suspected Zetas in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The agent's killing launched a massive search by two countries for Julian Zapata Espinosa, also known as "Piolin." He was extradited to the United States from Mexico this week. It's the first step in answering to the U.S. legal system.
"You know, you hear a lot of things. People tell you you'll never know who did. You'll never get that person. I'm glad that this is probably the beginning," says Zapata.
Zapata doesn't expect to shy away from her son's killer.
"I want to ask him. Usually when you kill somebody, it's because they are there shooting at you. I know my son didn't have that. He didn't go to Mexico to kill anybody," says Zapata.
The Zapatas hope no other family has to face this same dilemma again.
"I can't push a button and bring him back, but I don't want this to happen to anyone again. They need to be respected. They are there to fight crime. They are there to help us and Jaime was there to help Mexico," says Zapata.
This extradition adds to the hope already provided by agent Zapata's medals and commendations. They're lasting memories of a Brownsville native's sacrifice.
ICE Director John Morton called the Zapatas Wednesday morning to tell them about the extradition. They're glad he kept his promise of keeping them up to date on the investigation.