WASHINGTON - A man has been convicted in connection with a 2010 firefight that left a border patrol agent dead in Arizona.
Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes is the sixth person out of seven to be convicted for participating in the murder of 40-year-old Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010.
Osorio-Arellanes is convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy to effect interstate commerce by robbery, attempted robbery, assault on four border patrol agents and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to officials, Osorio-Arellanes was part of an armed group that was trying to rob drug smugglers transporting drugs from Mexico. A gunfight broke out when Terry's border patrol unit attempted to arrest the men in a rural area north of Nogales, Arizona.
Below is information about the case from the United States Attorney:
“Brian Terry’s family will never have its hero back, but his loved ones now have justice,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer of the Southern District of California. “The jury’s verdict is the right outcome not only for the family, but for the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol who daily put their lives at risk to protect this country."
According to evidence presented by the government during the weeklong trial, Agent Terry called to a fellow agent, “Willie, I’m hit! I can’t feel my legs,” as the team of agents exchanged fire with the rip crew. Asked where he was hit, Terry said, “I don’t know.” A bullet from an AK-47 hit near Terry’s spine, severing his spinal cord and his aorta. Fellow agents struggled to save him but were unable to do so.
According to the evidence, collectively the five members of the rip crew were carrying four loaded AK-47 assault weapons, an AR-15 semiautomatic assault weapon, 180 rounds of spare ammunition and food to last for days.
Osorio-Arellanes fled the scene, leaving behind his brother, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, who had been shot in the stomach in the exchange of gunfire. The brother was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison after cooperating with the government in identifying the other members of the rip crew who were fugitives.
U.S. District Judge David C. Bury set sentencing for April 29, 2019.
Osorio-Arellanes is one of seven defendants charged in the District of Arizona with murder and other crimes arising from the murder of Agent Terry. Osorio-Arellanes was taken into custody in 2017 by Mexican authorities in Chihuahua, Mexico in 2017 based on a provisional arrest warrant issued at the request of the United States. He was transported to Mexico City for extradition proceedings and arrived in the United States on Aug. 1, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Brewer commended the FBI and one agent in particular, Michelle Terwilliger. “Her commitment to pursuing the fugitives in this case and developing the evidence to bring them to justice is truly commendable and exemplary of the tireless work of FBI agents.”
Defendants Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Lionel Sanchez-Meza were arrested in Mexico and subsequently extradited to the United States in 2014. They were convicted by a jury of first-degree murder and other offenses in December 2015 following a jury trial and were sentenced to life in prison.
Defendants Manuel Osorio-Arellanes and Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez pleaded guilty to first degree murder; Osorio-Arellanes was sentenced to 360 months in prison, while Burboa-Alvarez was sentenced to 324 months. Defendant Rito Osorio-Arellanes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and was sentenced to 96 months in prison.
Defendant Jesus Favela-Astorga was arrested by Mexican authorities pursuant to a provisional arrest request filed by the United States Government. He is pending extradition to the United States and will be tried in Tucson following his arrival.
The case is being prosecuted by attorneys from the Southern District of California, Special Attorneys Todd W. Robinson and David Leshner. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is recused. The case was investigated by the FBI. The apprehension was a coordinated effort by the Mexican Navy (SEMAR), Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General (PGR), FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Border Patrol with significant assistance provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.
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