Final Suspect in Border Patrol Agent’s Death Arrested in Mexico

(CN) – Mexican authorities have arrested the last of seven defendants accused of participating in the 2010 killing of a Border Patrol agent whose death exposed the bungled “Fast and Furious” gun operation, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Jesus Rosario Favela Astorga, 37, was arrested Saturday and charged Monday with first-degree murder and other crimes related to the killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Five men connected to Terry’s death have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of murder, or on conspiracy and firearms charges. One other man, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, was arrested in April but has not yet been extradited to the United States.

Terry and his unit were on patrol in southern Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico border on Dec. 14, 2010, when they came across Favela Astorga and others, members of a “rip crew” that planned to rob marijuana smugglers.

A shootout ensued with the crew using AK-47 style firearms, leaving Terry dead.

“The arrest of Favela Astorga resulted from the unwavering commitment of the United States and our law enforcement partners in Mexico to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Agent Brian Terry, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson said in a statement.

Two of the guns used by the rip crew were connected to a Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives’ operation known as “Fast and Furious,” where federal agents allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix gun shops to track them back to Mexican drug cartels. It remains unclear whether Terry was killed with either of those guns.

The agency lost track of around 1,400 of the 2,000 firearms used in the operation, which became a primary focus of Republicans in Congress. The scandal later led to the House of Representatives holding then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

The case is being prosecuted in Tucson federal court.

 

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