A moonlight gunbattle along the U.S.-Arizona border early yesterday took the life of a federal agent who was also a father, husband, and leader in his church, the Arizona Republic reports. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Nicholas Ivie, 30, was killed and a fellow Border Patrol agent wounded in the shootout within several miles of the Mexican line.
The killing of Ivie, the third agent to be murdered near the border in the past five years, reverberated through Cochise County. The Border Patrol agents were based at the recently opened Brian A. Terry Bisbee Station, named for an agent who was slain under similar circumstances in December 2010. Terry’s death led to the exposure of a flawed investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed an estimated 2,000 firearms to pass into the hands of suspected cartel traffickers. Although a motive for the shooting is unknown, Beth Kempshall, director of Arizona’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, noted that it took place along a drug-smuggling corridor used by the Sinaloa cartel, in a hilly, remote area.