Defense & National Security

Justice Department unseals indictment, charges five in Brian Terry murder

Justice Department unseals indictment, charges five in Brian Terry murder

Five men were indicted in the December 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and a  $1 million reward was offered leading to the capture of those still at large. The announcement was made by Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.

Speaking in Tucson, where the indictment was initially filed by the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office, Duffy said, “the indictment unsealed today reflects the progress our dedicated law enforcement team has made piecing together this complex murder case. But there is more work to be done and we will not rest until we bring justice to the family of Brian Terry.”

The Arizona U.S. Attorney was recused from the case after it was discovered it had overseen the gun-walking operation Fast and Furious in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It was Border Patrol Agent Terry’s killing, 11 miles from the Mexican border in Arizona, that led investigators to the controversial operation know as Fast and Furious, where ATF agents allowed the sale of firearms to individuals with known ties to Mexican drug cartels in hopes of identifying gun traffickers as well as finding out information about the cartels.

It is believed that one of those firearms was used to kill Agent Terry.

The Terry family, while praising Duffy’s efforts, also expressed their displeasure over the lack of progress in the investigation into Fast and Furious, which they referred to in a statement as “stalled”. Speaking through their attorney, they stated that “the Terry family once again asks that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice comply with the request for documents made by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee so that all Americans can know who approved of the operation in order that those individuals can be held accountable for their decisions.”

In fact, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the refusal of the Justice Department to comply with an Oversight Committee subpoena to release documents relating to Fast and Furious two weeks prior to Monday’s announcement.

Timing of the announcement was not lost on Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who, speaking with Fox News, said “I applaud what they’re doing, but I condemn the timing. It’s very clear that the timing has everything to do with the House of Representatives holding Eric Holder in contempt.”

Following the indictment, Holder said in a statement, “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.”

Of the five individuals indicted, two are currently in custody. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes was apprehended the night of the shooting, while Rito Osorio-Arellanes was arrested shortly after on immigration charges and is being held on the lesser charge of “conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.” Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza, however, remain at large.

For more information on the indictment, click here.

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