A man was arrested in Mexico on charges related to the 2010 killing of a US Border Patrol agent whose death helped expose the botched federal "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation.
Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, 38, was arrested by Mexican authorities in Chihuahua on Wednesday and is expected to be extradited to the US. He is one of seven people who were charged with murder and other crimes in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and the sixth to be taken into custody. Two men have so far gone to trial and been sentenced to life in prison.
"To anyone who would take the life of an American citizen, in particular an American law enforcement officer, this action sends a clear message: Working closely with our international partners, we will hunt you down, we will find you, and we will bring you to justice," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Thursday.
Terry, 40, was a member of the Border Patrol's tactical and special response team. On Dec. 14, 2010, he and others on his team were pursuing a group of gang members about 10 miles north of the US-Mexico border in Arizona.
A gun battle broke out, and Terry was killed. Authorities arrested several people at the scene and recovered multiple firearms.
Two semi-automatic rifles were later found to be lost by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) through its Operation Fast and Furious. The operation attempted to identify gun trafficking rings by allowing illegal sales of weapons. More than 2,000 guns were supposed to be tracked by authorities, but ultimately, most of them were lost in Mexico.
Revelations about the failed operation spurred a congressional inquiry, and in 2012, the House of Representatives held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in a dispute over documents. ATF Deputy Director William Hoover resigned later that year after a congressional report.
On Thursday, Robert Heyer, Terry's cousin and the chairman of a memorial foundation, said the their family was thankful for the efforts of law enforcement on both sides of the border.
"The mistakes of the past can’t be erased," he said in a statement. "We as citizens must constantly hold our government accountable for their actions. Operation Fast and Furious was a clear example of the Department of Justice at its worst. I hope never to see that level of arrogance and incompetence in our government ever again.”
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
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