WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday announced the indictment of five people in the killing of a Border Patrol agent, a case linked to the disputed gun-trafficking investigation called Operation Fast and Furious. Four of the defendants are fugitives, and the FBI offered a $1 million reward for any information that leads to their capture.
The indictment, which was handed up by a federal grand jury in November, centers on a gunfight involving Border Patrol agents and bandits in Arizona near the border with Mexico on Dec. 14, 2010. One of the agents, Brian Terry, was fatally wounded, and it later emerged that two guns found at the scene had been bought by someone suspected of being a straw buyer for a smuggling network in the Operation Fast and Furious investigation.
In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to "bring those responsible for his (Terry's) murder to justice."
The existence of a sealed indictment and the identity of the defendant who is in custody, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, had already been made public. Monday's announcement disclosed the reward and the names of the four fugitives — Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza of Mexico — charged with crimes including first-degree murder, assault on a federal officer and conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery. Osorio-Arellanes was arrested on the night of the shooting.
The court filing also charged a sixth man, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, in connection with the case, but only with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery. It said he had been arrested on immigration charges by Border Patrol agents on Dec. 12, 2010.
Federal officials said the indictment was being unsealed so that public assistance could be sought in finding the four fugitives.