March 24, 2023

The family of a federal agent killed by the Los Zetas cartel in Mexico in 2011 will finally be able to receive funerals and survivor benefits, following the intervention of a Texas congresswoman.

“It’s not fair that they lost their son… Is this how we treat our men and women in law enforcement, risking our lives to protect us all?” Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R-TX) announced the intervention ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata told Breitbart Texas about survivor benefits. “After he gave his life, the least we can do is support our family.”

The congresswoman got involved when Mary Zapata contacted Flores’ office six weeks ago. Mary was the mother of ICE agent Jaime Zapata, who died in Mexico in February 2011 when a team of gunmen from the Los Chitas cartel ambushed his vehicle. ICE Agent Jaime Avila was seriously injured but survived.

“We were shocked to realize that they were still waiting for these benefits,” Flores said. “They were very surprised when we were able to do it in six weeks.”

In a prepared statement, the Zapatas thanked Flores for his help and expressed sadness about the situation.

“No family should go through the pain and pain of losing a family member only to be forgotten by the Washington bureaucracy for more than 11 years,” wrote Mary Zapata. “Congresswoman Flores and her staff have since day one Since then, she has represented our family interests with dedication and genuine care. Our family is very grateful for her service.”

Layers of bureaucracy and red tape have delayed funeral benefits for the Zapatas family, however, the issue shows a deeper problem where career bureaucrats forget the sacrifices made by fallen agents and their families, Flores Say.

“It’s an injustice, what this family has been through, they still have to deal with the government,” the congresswoman said. “The case is well known; this tragic event, they still haven’t helped them. Agent Avila has been through so much and he’s still waiting for his good.”

After retiring from ICE, Avila broke long-range shooting records and ran for local public office in Texas.

In November 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officials and Employees Protection Act, making it a crime to attack foreign agents. However, neither Zapata nor Avila were invited to the signing ceremony.

“The bureaucracy continues to play politics with people’s lives,” Flores said. “It shouldn’t be political.”

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning reporter for Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project in Breitbart Texas with Brandon Darby and Breitbart senior can follow him Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted

Brandon Darby is the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project in Breitbart Texas with Ildefonso Ortiz and Breitbart senior management.follow him Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted

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