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- 07-09-2012, 07:14 PM #1
Justice unseals indictment charging 5 in Brian Terry's death, offers $1M reward for l
Justice unseals indictment charging 5 in
Brian Terry's death, offers $1M reward for leads on fugitives
Published July 09, 2012
Documents show agent shot beanbags.
VIDEO AT LINK/INTERVIEW WITH ISSA
The Justice Department unsealed an indictment Monday charging five people in connection with Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's death -- a move that drew praise as well as skepticism from lawmakers laser-focused on the case.
The department, in unsealing the document, also announced a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of four suspects who are still at large.
The developments come amid an intensifying debate over the department's failed Fast and Furious anti-gunrunning operation. Weapons from that program were found at Terry's murder scene -- Republicans seeking documents pertaining to Fast and Furious last month escalated their probe by voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, praised the department Monday for its announcement but questioned the timing.
"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," Issa told Fox News.
Issa, who led the contempt push, said Justice could have been doing more to find the suspects all along -- he called the timing of the FBI reward money "another example of using politics over good policy."
In a statement, the Brian Terry Foundation also applauded federal prosecutors for taking additional steps to bring suspects to justice, but continued to call on Holder to turn over Fast and Furious documents.
"Today's developments certainly mean that the criminal prosecution of Brian Terry's killers is moving forward," Terry family attorney Patrick McGroder said.
The 11-count indictment, originally handed up by a grand jury in November 2011, implicates five defendants in the killing. A sixth suspect has also been charged in a related incident.
The two men in custody are Manuel Osario Arellanes -- who was wounded in the foot the night of the firefight -- and his brother Rito. Rito, who was arrested two nights before the Terry shooting, allegedly helped provide weapons to the criminal gang used in the shooting. All six men named in the indictment are either related or friends.
The other four are believed to be hiding out in Mexico, and the U.S. is now offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to their arrest. They are: Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga; Ivan Soto-Barraza; Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes; and Lionel Portillo-Meza.
According to the indictment, the five defendants are charged with crimes including first-degree murder, second-degree murder and assault on a federal officer. The indictment alleges that the five defendants also assaulted three other Border Patrol agents who were with Terry.
For the first time, federal officials also revealed that Terry and the elite squad of federal agents initially fired bean bags -- not bullets -- at the heavily armed drug cartel crew in the mountains south of Tucson in December 2010. During the exchange, Terry was shot and killed.
"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 in a statement. "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."
The names of the four suspects were revealed Monday, and their pictures released, to the public. Police in the U.S. and in Mexico are cooperating and under intense pressure to find them.
The FBI says it has been actively searching for the outstanding fugitives.
Despite the skepticism voiced Monday by Issa about the timing of the announcement, other lawmakers described the reward as strictly positive news.
"Unsealing the indictment and offering a reward in this case is an important step in the right direction. I hope the additional press attention will prompt someone with information to come forward and help the FBI find those who are guilty of Agent Terry's murder and bring them to justice," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, noting he had inquired earlier as to why the suspects' names were not on the most-wanted list.
Issa's Democratic counterpart on the oversight committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., also commended the department "for its vigorous pursuit of justice for Brian Terry's family."
The case is being prosecuted in Tuscon by federal attorneys from the department's southern California district.
Anyone with information on the fugitives is asked to call the FBI's Phoenix office at 623-466-1999.
Read more: Justice unseals indictment charging 5 in Brian Terry's death, offers $1M reward for leads on fugitives | Fox News
FROM THE FBI
Five Individuals Charged in Connection with Death of a Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent; $1 Million FBI Reward Announced
Individuals Charged Are Allegedly Responsible for Death of Agent Brian Terry
U.S. Attorney’s Office July 09, 2012
- Southern District of California (619) 557-5610
TUCSON, AZ—The indictment charging five individuals involved in the death of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed today in Tucson, Arizona, and a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of four fugitives was announced by Department of Justice officials.
According to the indictment, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, and Lionel Portillo-Meza are charged with crimes including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged only with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
From left to right, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, and Lionel Portillo-Meza (photo unavailable) are wanted in connection with the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The 11-count third superseding indictment (Case Number: CR-11-0150-TUC-DCB-BPV), which was handed up by a federal grand jury in the District of Arizona on November 7, 2011, alleges that on December 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, and Lionel Portillo-Meza) engaged in a firefight with Border Patrol agents. During the exchange of gunfire, Agent Terry was shot and killed. The indictment alleges that the defendants had illegally entered the United States from Mexico for the purpose of robbing drug traffickers of their contraband. In addition to the murder of Agent Terry, the indictment also alleges that the five defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza, and Timothy Keller, who were with Agent Terry during the firefight.
United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy said, “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. 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.”
“United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry made the ultimate sacrifice in December of 2010, while protecting our border,” stated James L. Turgal Jr., FBI Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Division. “Today’s announcement is an important step forward in the pursuit of justice for Border Patrol Agent Terry and his family. It is our hope that the publicity surrounding this case will lead to information concerning the whereabouts of the remaining four fugitives. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue those individuals responsible for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since his arrest the night of the shooting. Rito Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since December 12, 2010, when he was arrested by Border Patrol agents on immigration charges. The indictment is being unsealed today in order to seek the public’s assistance in locating the fugitive defendants.
This case is being prosecuted in federal court in Tucson by attorneys from the Southern District of California, Special Attorneys Todd W. Robinson, David D. Leshner, and Fred A. Sheppard. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is recused. This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An indictment is a formal charging document and defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga
Last edited by Newmexican; 07-09-2012 at 07:15 PM. Reason: link