ATF’s Fast & Furious gunwalking indictment unsealed
After 18 months of stonewalling, him-hawing, national headlines and a contempt charge for Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. government finally unsealed its grand jury indictment case against those involved with the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry today.
Little new information was revealed, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) provided media with confirmation that Border Patrol agents, using guns that fired bean-bags, not bullets, were used stop a dangerous, well-armed rip crew outfitted with U.S. Operation “Fast and Furious” AK-47s.
The botched Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) gunwalking program allowed more than 2,000 firearms to “walk” across the U.S./Mexican border into the hands of ruthless drug cartels. Not only did a Fast and Furious gun kill agent Terry, but also there have been numerous reports that tie the failed ATF program to murdered ICE Agent Jamie Zapata. Also, Mexican law enforcement officials have said hundreds of their citizens have been murdered with Fast and Furious guns.
The unsealed indictment charged five other individuals for the December 14, 2010 murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
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 and remains in custody.
The government’s indictment alleges the defendants illegally entered America from Mexico with the intent to rob drug traffickers of their illicit drugs and cash.
“The indictment unsealed today reflects the progress our dedicated law enforcement team has made piecing together this complex murder case,” said U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy. “But there is more work to be done and we will not rest until we bring justice to the family of Brian Terry.”
The U.S. government also said they are working with their Mexican counterparts to apprehend four other Mexican nationals wanted for the murder of Agent Terry. In additional news, the FBI revealed they are offering a $1 million reward for any information resulting in the apprehension of the remaining suspects.
The Terry family, who remain critical of the Obama Administration’s handling of their son’s murder investigation, released a statement regarding today’s news.
“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,” said Robert Heyer, Chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation and cousin to Brian Terry. “The Terry family would like to thank U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy and her team of prosecutors along with the special agents of the FBI’s Tucson Office and the Mexico City Legal Attaché who have continued to pursue leads in the murder case that ultimately led to the additional indictments of the four fugitive defendants. The Terry family would also like to thank the government of Mexico for their assistance in the investigation. It is the family’s hope that the unsealing of details in the case, the identification of the four fugitives and the issuance of reward monies will lead to the eventual capture of all individuals responsible for the murder of Agent Terry.”
“Today’s developments certainly mean that the criminal prosecution of Brian Terry’s killers is moving forward,” said Patrick McGroder, the Terry family attorney. “However, the accountability aspect of Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed ATF/DOJ gun trafficking investigation that put weapons into the hands of the men that killed Brian Terry, remains stalled. The Terry family once again asks that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice comply with the request for documents made by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee so that all Americans can know who approved of the operation in order that those individuals can be held accountable for their decisions. Agent Terry died as a hero protecting this country; he and his family rightly deserve a full and thorough explanation of how Operation Fast and Furious came to be.”
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of the fugitives should contact the FBI’s Phoenix field office at (623) 466-1999 or any local FBI, American Embassy or Consulate.
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.