The evidence presented to the federal jury members indicated that on Dec. 14, 2010, the two convicted killers, Soto-Barraza, Sanchez-Meza, and three other Mexicans were in the United States during their plot to rob Mexican drug traffickers of their “product.” That evening Agent Terry and three other Border Patrol Agents were engaged in the performance of their official duties, members of the defendants’ group exchanged gun fire with the agents and one of the shots fired by a member of the defendants’ group killed Agent Terry, according to the statement from the Justice Department.
The jury found both Soto-Barraza and Sanchez-Meza guilty of first-degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and assault on Agent Terry and three additional federal officers – Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza, and Timothy Keller.
The 2010 killing of agent Brian Terry exposed the Fast and Furious operation in which agents from the 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 smuggled guns, including two that were found at scene of Terry’s death. It proved to be one of history’s biggest law enforcement snafus.
The operation set off a political firestorm, led to congressional investigations and became a major distraction for President Barack Obama in his first term. It also caused the Attorney General Eric Holder to be held in contempt of Congress for his alleged perjured testimony. However, no one was ever held accountable for the operation or the death of Agent Terry.
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In fact, the judge in the murder case restricted any mention of Fast and Furious, although it still marked the first trial for any defendants in the case.
Prior to this latest conviction, two suspects had already pleaded guilty, while two others remain fugitives in Mexico. “With these convictions, we have taken another important step towards securing justice for Agent Brian Terry,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “Today’s verdict is the result of years of tireless effort from dozens of dedicated law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and investigators committed to ensuring that the murder of their friend and colleague does not go unpunished. The Department of Justice will continue to relentlessly pursue the remaining individuals responsible for Agent Terry’s loss, and to uphold the values of courage, duty, and honor that he embodied with his life and service.”
But Lynch also failed to mention the connection between Brian Terry’s murder and the Obama administration’s gun-walking Fast and Furious operation that placed weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartel members.
Two other men, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes and Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for their roles in Agent Terry’s death. Yet another two men, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, remain fugitives.
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