U.S. offers $1 million reward over killing of border agent Brian Terry
LOS ANGELES — US authorities offered a $1 million reward Monday for information about four suspects wanted over the killing of a border agent in December 2010.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published the names as an indictment was unsealed charging five suspects with offenses including first degree murder and assault on a federal officer, agent Brian Terry.
Guns found at the murder scene included two firearms which went missing in the botched gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious, which led to a historic contempt vote against US Attorney General Eric Holder last month.
“Agent Terry died in the line of duty while protecting his country. But he was more than a federal agent — he was a son, a brother, a co-worker, and a friend to many,” said United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy.
“The indictment unsealed today reflects the progress… 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 four fugitive suspects were named as Mexicans Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, as well as Lionel Portillo-Meza, whose nationality was not given.
A fifth suspect, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, has been in custody since the night of the shooting, December 12, 2010, said a joint statement by the FBI and the Department of Justice.
The charges include first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, using a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, and unauthorized possession of a firearm.
A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged only with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
The US Justice Department said last month that it would not prosecute Holder over his refusal to hand over documents on the botched gun-running operation to Congress, even after the House of Representatives held him in contempt.
Launched in Arizona by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Fast and Furious was a sting operation designed to track weapons purchased by straw buyers and smuggled to Mexican drug cartels.
But many of the guns went missing, and two were later found at the scene of Terry’s murder.
James L. Turgal Jr., FBI Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Division, said Monday that Terry “made the ultimate sacrifice in December of 2010, while protecting our border.
The joint FBI-Justice Department statement made no reference to Fast and Furious, but added: “Today’s announcement is an important step forward in the pursuit of justice for Border Patrol Agent Terry and his family.”