US asks for time to try ICE agent shooting suspect

January 25, 2012 - 6:35 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors are asking for extra time to coordinate with Mexican authorities before heading to trial against an accused Zeta drug cartel member charged in the shooting of two U.S. agents.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth indicated Wednesday he'd grant the request over the objection of defendant Julian Zapata Espinoza's court-appointed attorney, who requested a speedy trial. But Lamberth warned prosecutors that he expects the foreign authorities to turn over evidence quickly or the case could go back to Mexico, where the shooting occurred Feb. 15.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and his colleague Victor Avila was wounded in the highway shooting. Both were based in Texas.

The Mexican army has said Zapata Espinoza admitted killing Zapata, mistakenly believing he was part of a rival gang.