An illegal immigrant convicted of murdering U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry during the government’s ill-fated “Fast and Furious” operation has been sentenced to life in prison, according to Associated Press (AP).
Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was one of seven illegal immigrants charged with shooting Terry in 2010. Terry’s four-man border team encountered Osorio-Arellanes’ group while on a mission in the southern Arizona desert to protect illegal immigrants from other illegal immigrant bandits.
The border patrol unit reportedly fired bean bags at the illegal immigrants after they refused orders to stop approaching. Osorio-Arellanes and his men returned fire with AK-47 assault rifles, killing Terry.
Two of the rifles found at the scene of Terry’s murder were weapons that U.S. agents allowed to be trafficked to Mexican drug cartels as part of an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) case named “Fast and Furious.” Thousands of weapons were put in the hands of drug traffickers through the operation.
After I first broke news of the secret operation in 2011, the Justice Department denied its existence. Later, the government admitted to the “gun walking” operation but claimed they intended to track the weapons to criminal organizations and make big arrests. However, there was no attempt to actually track the weapons.
Former President Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder were heavily criticized for the failed operation. Holder was held in contempt for refusing to turn over documents pertaining to the operation. President Obama declared executive privilege to keep the documents secret.
Several of Brian Terry’s family members tearfully spoke at Osorio-Arellanes’ sentencing hearing in a courtroom in Tucson, Arizona.
Osorio-Arellanes’ is the sixth of the seven men charged with Terry’s murder to be sentenced. The seventh man is in custody in Mexico, but has not been extradited or tried yet, according to AP.
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