Family speaks out on arrest in killing of border agent Brian Terry

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -

 The family of slain U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry is speaking out after an arrest was made in Terry's killing.

On Wednesday, authorities announced the arrest of Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, a suspect in Terry's 2010 killing.

Osorio-Arellanes was one of two men who remained fugitives in the December 2010 murder of the 40-year-old Brian Terry, whose death exposed Fast and Furious, 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.

[RELATED: Suspects charged in border agent's slaying to face trial]

On Thursday, Terry's family issued the following statement about the arrest:

"Brian Terry’s family is grateful to the Mexican authorities who pursued Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, the suspected gunman in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The family is also praising US law enforcement for continuing to pursue justice six years after Brian’s death.

Robert Heyer, Brian Terry’s Cousin and Chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation, said the passage of time has not diminished the need for justice, “We are very grateful that law enforcement on both sides of the border continues to seek out those responsible for Brian’s death. With the arrest of Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes only one other suspect remains at large. We are hopeful and confident that he will be brought to justice as well.”

Agent Brian Terry, a member of the U.S. Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, was on duty when he was shot to death while tracking members of a suspected drug cartel rip crew on December 14th, 2010 near Rio Rico, AZ. Two semi-automatic assault rifles similar to AK-47’s were found at the murder scene and ultimately traced to the botched gun-trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, in order to track the guns to Mexican drug cartels, but they lost track of the weapons.

Heyer added, “The mistakes of the past can’t be erased. We as citizens must constantly hold our government accountable for their actions. Operation Fast and Furious was a clear example of the Department of  Justice at its worst. I hope never to see that level of arrogance and incompetence in our government ever again. ”

To learn more about Agent Terry and the foundation established in his memory go to www.HonorBrianTerry.com."

In the aftermath of the Fast and Furious, it was revealed that the ATF lost most of the guns, including two that were found at the scene of Terry's death. The operation set off a political firestorm and led Terry's family to file a lawsuit. 

The government has heavily pursued prosecution of the men involved in the killing. It had offered a $250,000 reward for Osorio-Arellane.

Four other men involved in the killing have been convicted or have 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.

[SPECIAL SECTION: 24 Hours on the Border]

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 toward them. They responded by firing from AK-47-type assault rifles.

Terry was struck in the back and died shortly after.

A jury in Tucson in October 2015 found two men, Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza and Ivan Soto-Barraza, guilty on 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.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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