Officer shot while serving warrant in N. Houston

February 24, 2011 3:01:54 PM PST
A Houston undercover narcotics officer was shot Thursday morning while serving a warrant as part of a nationwide sweep targeting members of a Mexican drug cartel.

The raid was part of a nationwide crackdown on Zeta cartel after the Mexican drug gang killed an Immigration and Customs Agent nine days ago.

On Thursday morning, several Houston police officers were serving a warrant at a home on Buckboard at Imperial Valley in the Greenspoint area. After the agents knocked on the door and announced themselves in both English and Spanish, they went inside and that's when the shooting started.

Houston Police Officer Nash Patel, 39, and several other officers went into the home around 8am. Drug enforcement agents tell us this was part of a nationwide sweep of suspected members of the Zetas drug cartel.

"The officers who were in the HPD-approved raid gear, which is clearly labeled as police, entered the house, at which point one male suspect looked out at the officers and began firing," Houston Police Department Spokesman Kese Smith said.

Police say officers then fired back, wounding the suspect.

During the gun battle, Patel was hit two times, once in the elbow another time in the hip.

Patel was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital and is now in good condition, even joking with Mayor Annise Parker and Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland.

"I am not a doctor but if they would let him off of the bed he would go back today, but I know that is not going to happen. He is very eager to get back he told the mayor and I that all he ever wanted to be is a narcotics officers and he can't wait to get back," McClelland said.

The raid comes nine days after a U.S. ICE agent was shot and killed in Mexico, allegedly at the hands of the Zetas cartel.

The raid in Houston is just one of several happening around the nation as federal agents look to round up suspected members of the cartel in the U.S.

"Crime and drugs go hand in hand, so we're gonna consistently be targeting them regardless of what happened prior to today's incident," said Thomas Hinojosa with the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Officer Patel is a 13-year veteran of the Houston Police Department. He has been working in narcotics for the last five years.

He is expected to make a full recovery. As for the suspect who was also wounded, we only know that he is also in good condition. A second suspect was also arrested inside the home.