Less than two weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives held Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for allegedly not complying with subpoena related to documents about the botched ATF operation known as Fast and Furious, an indictment was unsealed that charges several fugitives in the 2010 death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Two weapons connected to Fast and Furious — in which ATF agents allegedly told gun dealers to sell weapons to individuals they suspected were “straw purchasers” for Mexican drug cartels — were found at the scene of Terry’s December 2010 murder.
A superseding indictment made public on Monday from Nov. 7, 2011 charges a total of six defendants with crimes related to Terry’s death. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes (also known as “Paye”), Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes (also known as “Laco”) and Lionel Portillo-Meza are charged with Terry’s death. The sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery (he was in custody before Terry was murdered).The FBI is offering $1 million for information leading to the arrests of four of the accused fugitives. Holder said in a statement that the government “we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice.”
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said at a press conference that the “atmospherics” surrounding the Terry case “have not distracted from the efforts of this prosecution team.”
In a statement, Terry family attorney Patrick McGroder said that the developments means that the criminal prosecution of Brian Terry’s killers is moving forward.
“However, the accountability aspect of Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed ATF/DOJ gun trafficking investigation that put weapons into the hands of the men that killed Brian Terry, remains stalled,” McGroder said. “The Terry family once again asks that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice comply with the request for documents made by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee so that all Americans can know who approved of the operation in order that those individuals can be held accountable for their decisions.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News that the timing of the unsealing of the indictment is politically motivated.
“It’s clear the timing has to do with the House of Representatives holding Eric Holder in contempt for not turning over information,” Issa said. “Again, I applaud the fact that we are going public and we are trying to make it clear that these people are among Mexico’s most wanted. But at the same time, the timing is very dubious.”
Late update: Here’s the FBI’s wanted poster: