A Fast and Furious murder suspect arrested in Mexico
A year and a half after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in an Arizona desert with weapons from the ill conceived Operation Fast and Furious; Mexican authorities claim they have arrested Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza who was charged with Terry’s murder earlier this year.
The botched Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) gunwalking program allowed thousands of high-powered weapons to cross the southern border and fall into the hands of ruthless drug cartels.
In July the federal government released key details contained in their indictment against five men wanted for the murder of Agent Terry. The suspect’s identities as well as a $1 million reward were offered to find the suspects who fled back to Mexico. So far, officials have not said if Sanchez Meza’s arrest came from a tipster.
The arrest was made in the Sonoran state of Mexico.
According to the indictment, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza (an alias Mr. Sánchez often uses) 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.
Two of the weapons recovered at the Mexican bandit rip crew and Border Patrol shootout scene were later identified as Fast and Furious guns.
“This is one more step toward justice for the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry… Ultimately, not only the bandits who fired the shots but also those who put the guns in their hands must all be held accountable,” said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa spearheaded the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, a gunwalking scheme that allowed more than 2,000 high-powered weapons to be straw-purchased and delivered to violent Mexican drug cartels.
Eventually the Fast and Furious scandal lead to a Congressional investigation and Eric Holder, Attorney General for the Department of Justice (DOJ) was charged with contempt by Congress for failing to turn over more than 70,000 documents related to the controversial gunwalking program.
The Terry family remains critical of the Obama Administration’s handling of their son’s murder investigation.
Not only did a Fast and Furious gun kill agent Terry, but there have been numerous reports that tie the failed ATF program to murdered Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jamie Zapata. In addition, Mexican law enforcement officials have said hundreds of their citizens have been murdered with Fast and Furious guns.
Three suspects remain on the run.
Previous Fast and Furious stories: http://www.examiner.com/article/atf-s-fast-furious-gunwalking-indictment-unsealed
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.