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Suspect in 2010 border agent shooting arrested in Mexico

April 13, 2017 (Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)
Mexican authorities have arrested the man accused of shooting and killing a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose 2010 death exposed a bungled gun-tracking operation by the federal government.

Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was one of two men who were fugitives in the December 2010 killing of 40-year-old Brian Terry, whose death exposed the Fast and Furious operation, in which agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed criminals to buy guns with the intention of tracking the weapons.

But the agency lost most of the guns, including two that were found at scene of Terry's death. The operation set off a political backlash for the Obama administration and led Terry's family to sue.

A joint statement Thursday by Mexico's navy and its federal attorney general's office said the suspect in Terry's death was arrested Wednesday by Mexican marines near the border between the states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua — a mountainous region noted for drug activity.

The suspect was being held while extradition proceedings are pending, the statement said. It didn't identify the suspect by his full name, but a Mexican federal official confirmed it was Osorio-Arellanes. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment officially.

Fox News was first to report the arrest, which the U.S. marshal for Arizona confirmed to The Arizona Republic.

Terry's family said through a spokesman Wednesday that it was not commenting on the latest arrest because of the sensitivity of the case.

The government has heavily pursued prosecution of the men involved in Terry's killing. It had offered a $250,000 reward for Osorio-Arellanes. Four other men have been convicted or pleaded guilty in federal court to murder charges.

Terry was part of a four-man team in an elite Border Patrol unit staking out the southern Arizona desert on a mission to find "rip-off" crew members who rob drug smugglers. They encountered a five-man group of suspected marijuana bandits and identified themselves as police in trying to arrest them.

The men refused to stop, prompting an agent to fire non-lethal bean bags at them. They responded by firing from AK-47-type assault rifles. Terry was struck in the back and died shortly afterward.

A jury in Tucson in October 2015 found two men, Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza and Ivan Soto-Barraza, guilty of murder and other charges. Another man, Manual Osorio-Arellanes, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2014.

A fourth man, Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, pleaded guilty to murder. He was not present during the shooting but is accused of assembling the rip crew.

Only Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga remains at large.

Associated Press writer E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City contributed to this report.


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