The mission was supposed to be a textbook “controlled delivery”–a routine trap by law enforcement officers using a secret operative posing as a truck driver to bust drug traffickers when their narcotics are delivered to a rendezvous point.
Instead, things spun out of control. Shortly before the marijuana delivery was to be made Monday afternoon, three sport-utility vehicles carrying Zetas cartel gunmen seemingly came out of nowhere and cut off the tractor trailer rig as it rumbled through northwest Harris County, sources told the Houston Chronicle.
They sprayed the cab with bullets, killing the civilian driver, who was secretly working with the government. A sheriff’s deputy, who was driving nearby in another vehicle, was wounded, possibly by friendly fire.
The Chronicle has learned that investigators believe the deputy’s shooting was the result of confusing radio communications among the multiple agencies that responded. Some of the arriving officers may have thought the deputy was one of the culprits when in fact he was a member of the surveillance team watching the truck.
For some at the scene, it seemed all too similar to what has been playing out in Mexico, where drug cartels operate with near impunity as they clash with each other and with the military and police.
Four suspects, at [least] three of them citizens of Mexico, were arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting death of the truck driver, Lawrence Chapa.