FBI Offers $1 Million Reward in Slaying of Border Agent from Michigan
Five people have been charged in connection with the 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry of Flat Rock, and a $1 million reward from the FBI was being offered for information leading to the arrest of four the defendants who remain at large.
Terry was shot and killed in southern Arizona in December 2010
Authorities unsealed the indictment Monday in Tuscon, Arizona charging Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with first degree murder and a host of other charges. 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 firefight with agent Terry.
"It has been a difficult 18 months for the family since Brian Terry was murdered in December of 2010 and today's announcement provides hope that justice will eventually be served," Terry's cousin Robert Heyer said Monday in a prepared statement, according to the Associated Press.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. issued a statement as well, saying:
“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. 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 a political controversy in Washington over the failed "Fast and Furious", an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive's 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. Problem was, agents lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border.
Two of the Fast and Furious guns surfaced at the crime scene where Terry was murdered. Republicans Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) have led the charge, accusing the Justice Department of failing to admit its role in the failed operation and withholding information about Terry's death. Attorney General Holder, who was held in contempt in Congress for failing to release documents in the operation, has insisted he and his department have been cooperative, and criticized Republicans of political theatrics.
Grassley isn't buying Holder's claims, and in a statement posted on his website last week wrote:
In December 2010, Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered and two of the weapons found at the scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-walking operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Since then, despite numerous requests from Congress – made in letters, meetings and hearings and by subpoena – the Department of Justice, which is in charge of the ATF, has stonewalled and resisted providing documents about the operation
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a supporter of Holder and 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.”