Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed in December 2010 by weapons bought by a gun-smuggling ring in what is now known as the botched government operation "Fast and Furious."
(Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Manuel Osoria-Arellanes has pleaded guilty to murder in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent during a 2010 firefight near the Arizona-Mexico border.
TUCSON, AZ (CBS5/AP) -
A man has pleaded guilty to murder in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent during a 2010 firefight near the Arizona-Mexico border.
The first-degree murder plea on Tuesday by Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, of El Fuerte, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, marks the first conviction in the December 2010 death of Agent Brian Terry.
Osorio-Arellanes faces up to life in prison.
Two rifles bought by a gun-smuggling ring that was being monitored by the government's botched investigation known as "Operation Fast and Furious" were found at the shooting scene.
Authorities have declined to say whether the murder weapon was linked to an Operation Fast and Furious purchase.
They also declined to reveal which of the five men charged in Terry's death had fired the fatal shot.
The Terry family issued a statement in the wake of the guilty plea:
"The Terry family is extremely pleased with this development, but acknowledges that justice is still a long way off in this matter. Defendant Lionel Portillo-Meza was captured in Mexico last month and is currently awaiting extradition to the United States. Three other Mexican citizens regarded as fugitives are believed to be on the loose in Mexico and have thus far avoided capture despite having a $1 million bounty on their heads.
"We look forward to the continued efforts by law enforcement on both sides of the border to ensure their arrests and extradition. We also ask for the Mexican public's assistance in locating the men still wanted for Brian's murder: Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes.
"It's been almost two years since Brian was killed by a group of heavily armed men working on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel. We know now that Osorio-Arellanes and the four other defendants were carrying assault weapons supplied to them by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the flawed gun trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. Investigations conducted by both the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General have come to the same conclusion; that the tactics employed by ATF which allowed almost 2,000 weapons to flow unchecked to the criminal element endangered public safety and put law enforcement on both sides of the border at risk.
"'My son is an American hero who died doing his job protecting this nation and its border. It's been almost two years since he was killed. My family knows much more now than we did in the weeks after Brian's death when our own government denied the claims of a few courageous ATF whistle-blowers that guns were being walked. I know too that Operation Fast and Furious and the subsequent denials of gun walking by DOJ have embarrassed both President (Barack) Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, but my son deserves the truth and full transparency by his government. I once again ask the president to retract his claim of executive privilege and release the many documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious. I also ask the president to hold those individuals in ATF and DOJ accountable for their part in the widespread management failures that resulted in Operation Fast and Furious.'"
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Friday, August 1 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:20:08 GMT
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