Indictment on Terry shooting unsealed

July 9, 2012 at 10:25 PM
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TUCSON, July 9 (UPI) -- An indictment charging five people in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed Monday in Tucson, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The FBI is offering a reward of as much as $1 million for information leading to the arrest of four fugitives in Terry's shooting death in 2010, the department said in a release.

Two guns found at the scene were traced to the flawed Operation Fast and Furious in which Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents allowed weapons to be bought illegally and circulated on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

In the indictment, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza are charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and assault on a federal officer, among other counts.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, has been investigating Operation Fast and Furious, and secured House passage of a contempt of Congress citation against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last month for not turning over requested documents.

The 11-count indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury in November, alleges on Dec. 14, 2010, Osorio-Arellanes, Favela-Astorga, Soto-Barraza, Osorio-Arellanes and Portillo-Meza fought with Border Patrol agents and during the exchange of fire, Terry was shot and killed.

Besides Terry's death, the indictment alleged the defendants assaulted three other Border Patrol agents who were with Terry during the firefight.

A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, was charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.

"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," Holder said.

Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since he was arrested the night of the shooting. Rito Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since Dec. 12, 2010, when he was arrested on immigration charges.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed Monday to seek the public's assistance in locating the fugitive defendants.

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