Human Rights and Civil Society

Mexico Extradites el Piolín to the United States

El Piolín, a top suspect in the murder of an ICE agent in February, was extradited to the United States on Dec. 20. Source: La Crónica de Hoy.

12/23/11— A top suspect in the February murder of  a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent was extradited to the United States on December 20. On February 15, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata was assassinated in northern Mexico by suspect Julian Zapata Espinosa, also known by his alias, el Piolín, the reported leader of the San Luis Potosí branch of the Zetas. Zapata Espinosa was arrested on February 24, 2011 along with five others involved in the ICE agent’s murder.

Earlier this week, Zapata Espinosa was extradited to the United States to face four criminal offenses including murder, attempted murder of an another officer, attempted murder of an internationally protected person and the illegal use and discharging of a firearm. He initially appeared before a U.S. federal court in Washington D.C. where he pled innocent to all charges. The Attorney General’s Office, however, has determined that Zapata Espinosa played an active role in the murder of ICE Agent Zapata. No information has been released as to what his involvement in the murder may have been, however.

El Piolín’s next court date is set for January 25, 2012. If found guilty of all charges, Zapata Espinosa would face a lifetime sentence in prison. According to the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., whose office in Washington will handle the case, has stated that “this prosecution exemplifies our unwavering effort to prosecute those who committed this heinous offense against U.S. law enforcement agents.” As reports indicate, el Piolín’s extradition also showcases the collaboration taking place between the United States and Mexico, and is a nod to the cooperative relationship necessary between the countries in incidences like this.


“Mexico Extradites to US Suspect in Shooting of US Agents.” Chicago Tribune. December 21, 2011.

Alzaga, Ignacio. “México extradita a El Piolín a EU.” Milenio. December 22, 2011.

Blancas Madrigal, Daniel. “México Extradita al Piolín a EU; se Declara Inocente.” La Crónica de Hoy. December 22, 2011.

Serrano, Richard A. Reputed Mexican Cartel Chief Charged in Killing of U.S. Agent. Los Angeles Times. December 22, 2011.

1 thought on “Mexico Extradites el Piolín to the United States”

  1. Pingback: Mexico Extradites Another Man Suspected of Killing ICE Agent to the U.S. « Justice in Mexico

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