A Mexican national has been indicted in the December killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Rio Rico.
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes of El Fuerte, Mexico, was named in a 14-count indictment unsealed Friday by a federal judge. He faces second-degree murder, weapons and conspiracy charges. Osorio-Arellanes is not accused of firing the shot that killed Terry.
Also indicted are his co-defendants, fugitives whose identities remain under seal. The indictment marks the first charges in Terry's death five months ago.
Osorio-Arellanes was arraigned Friday in a federal courtroom in Tucson. He faces trial on June 17 before U.S. District Judge David Bury.
"Today's indictment is an important step in this case, but it is only a first step to serving justice on behalf of Agent Brian Terry, his family, and the other agents who were with Terry and their families," said U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke.
"This is an active ongoing investigation that is making more and more progress every day," he said in a press release.
The indictment alleged that Osorio-Arellanes, also known as "Paye," was part of an armed group of illegal aliens that got into a firefight with Terry and three other Border Patrol agents in a remote area known as Mesquite Seep near Rio Rico.
Terry, 40, a former Marine and Michigan police officer, was a member of the Border Patrol's BORTAC special response team that tracks bandits preying on migrants and drug runners near Nogales.
On the evening of Dec. 14, Terry and three other agents were patrolling in Peck Canyon, about 10 miles north of Nogales, when they encountered a group of armed men who began firing assault rifles.
Osorio-Arellanes and another man carried Romanian GP WASR 10/63 assault rifles, a variant of the AK-47, the indictment said.
One of the group shot Agent Terry, who died from his wound, the indictment said.
Osorio-Arellanes, who was wounded, was apprehended, treated for his injuries, and has been in federal custody since on felony immigration charges. His co-conspirators, including the gunman suspected of firing the fatal shot, fled the scene, the indictment said.
In addition to the charge of second-degree murder, which could result in a life sentence, Osorio-Arellanes was indicted on charges of conspiracy to assault a federal officer, use and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and re-entry after deportation.
Two weapons recovered near the shooting scene were linked to the controversial Fast and Furious operation that targeted cross-border gun smuggling. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says neither of the firearms found fired the fatal shots.
"The Border Patrol is pleased that significant progress is ongoing in this case," said Randy Hill, chief patrol agent in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.
Burke added, "Agent Terry—who served his country honorably as both a Marine and a member of the Border Patrol—made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the people of the United States. His family deserves to see justice served, and everybody involved in this investigation is deeply committed to making that happen."
Terry was the third Border Patrol agent killed on duty in 2010. Mark Van Doren was killed in an auto accident in Texas in May, and Michael V. Gallagher was killed by a drunk driver in September near Casa Grande on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.
Since 1919, 111 agents have died in the line of duty.
In: Regional News
Tags: Mexican, Man, Charged, Murder, Border, Patrol, Agent, Brian, Terry,
Location: Rio Rico Northeast, Arizona, United States (load item map)
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