MEXICO CITY—A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another wounded in the line of duty Tuesday while driving through northern Mexico, a Mexican official said.
The two agents were driving in the northern state of San Luis Potosi when they were stopped at what appeared to be a military checkpoint, said the official, who could not be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
After they stopped, someone opened fire on them, the official said.
The agents were assigned to the ICE Attache office in Mexico's capital were attacked by unknown assailants while driving between Mexico City and the northern city of Monterrey, according an ICE statement.
Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan spoke with ICE chief John Morton to express Mexico's condolences to ICE, according to a spokesman.
Sarukhan told Morton that Mexican authorities will work together with U.S. investigators, using every resource available to track down and apprehend the perpetrators of the attack.
Though Mexico is seeing record rates of violence from warring drug cartels and a crackdown on organized crime, it is rare for U.S. officials to be attacked.
But the U.S. government has increasingly become concerned about the safety of its employees in Mexico amid the escalating violence.
In March, a U.S. employee of the consulate, her husband and a Mexican tied to the American consulate were killed when drug gang members fired on their cars as they left a children's party in Ciudad Juarez, the city across from El Paso, Texas.
The U.S. State Department has taken several measures over the past year to protect consulate employees and their families. It has at times authorized the departure of relatives of U.S. government employees in northern Mexican cities.
In July, it temporarily closed the consulate in Ciudad Juarez after receiving unspecified threats.
ICE, the investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government, enforced immigration laws and is responsible for arresting, detaining and deporting people who are in the U.S. illegally. It also investigates drug cases in the U.S. and Mexico and other types of trafficking.
It was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service and has more than 20,000 employees in offices in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries.