The Justice Department announced on Monday the indictment of five people in connection with the 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and a $1 million reward from the FBI for info leading to the arrest of four the defendants who remain at large.
Authorities unsealed the indictment in Tuscon charging Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Only Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody.
Authorities charged that the men crossed the border into the U.S. to rob drug traffickers and ended up in a gun fight with agent Terry.
“Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.“This investigation has previously resulted in one defendant being charged with Agent Terry’s murder and taken into custody, and today’s announcement reflects the department’s unrelenting commitment to finding and arresting the other individuals responsible for this horrific tragedy so that Agent Terry’s family, friends and fellow law enforcement agents receive the justice they deserve.”
Terry’s name has become part of the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF operation out of Phoenix that encouraged gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers”, all with the hope of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.
Two of the guns from that operation surfaced at the crime scene where Terry was murdered.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, ranking member of the the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been examining the failed Operation Fast and Furious, issued a statement:
“I commend the Department of Justice for its vigorous pursuit of justice for Brian Terry’s family. I remain dedicated to ensuring that his family and the American people get the answers they deserve.”