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Obama Consoles Parents Of Slain Immigration Agent

  • Kent Klein

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata - pictured in this handout released February 16, 2011 - was shot and killed in the line of duty in Mexico on February 15 (file photo)

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata - pictured in this handout released February 16, 2011 - was shot and killed in the line of duty in Mexico on February 15 (file photo)

President Barack Obama has extended his condolences to the parents of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who was killed Tuesday in Mexico. U.S. and Mexican officials are setting up a task force to find those responsible.

The president called the parents of slain federal agent Jaime Zapata early Wednesday, according to new White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

"The president told them that no words could express the sadness of the loss of a loved one," said Carney. "Their son served our country admirably, the president said, and he assured his parents that the entire country was grateful for his selfless service and contributions to our nation."

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, said Zapata was killed and another agent was shot in the arm and leg as they drove between Mexico City and the northern city of Monterey.

Mexican officials said they stopped at what appeared to be a military checkpoint. However, the Mexican military said it had no checkpoints in the area, and the roadblock might have been set up by drug traffickers.

Carney said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder are creating a joint task force with their Mexican counterparts to solve the case.

"U.S. law enforcement agencies are working closely with Mexican authorities to investigate the shooting," said Carney. "The resources of the federal government are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in the investigation."

Napolitano spoke Wednesday with Mexican Interior Minister Fernando Blake Mora. The Homeland Security secretary said violence against U.S. agents in Mexico represents an attack against all federal agents and will not be tolerated by either country.

This is the first reported attack on U.S. law enforcement in Mexico since 1985.

At least 34,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006.

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