Mexico arrests suspect of "Fast and Furious" border agent slaying

MEXICO-DRUG WAR: "The suspect was arrested without incident on Wednesday morning by Mexican authorities in cooperation with U.S. authorities"
Handout photo of suspect tied to killing of agent in “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation, distributed by Mexican Ministry of Navy (SEMAR)
David Schwartz
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The man accused of pulling the trigger in the 2010 shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, a case tied to the government's ill-fated "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting, was arrested on Wednesday in Mexico, according to the U.S. marshal for Arizona.

Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, the fifth drug cartel figure sought by U.S. authorities for the killing to be apprehended, was taken into custody on a ranch along the border of the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua, U.S. Marshal David Gonzáles said.

"The suspect was arrested without incident on Wednesday morning by Mexican authorities in cooperation with U.S. authorities," Gonzáles said, adding that the United States would seek his extradition.

"He is suspected of being the triggerman in the killing of Brian Terry," Gonzáles said. Osorio-Arellanes is accused of being part of a five-man cartel "rip crew" - out to rob drug dealers along the border - who confronted Terry and three other Border Patrol agents on Dec. 14, 2010, in a shootout north of Nogales, Arizona.

Terry was shot to death and one gang member was wounded in the gun battle.

Two AK-47 rifles found at the scene were later traced back to the bungled gun-running investigation of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that embarrassed the Obama administration and strained relations with Mexico.

In that probe, the ATF had intended to trace weapons that were purchased legally in the United States by "straw" buyers and then resold into the black market, but federal agents lost track of some weapons, many of which ended up in the hands of drug traffickers.

In 2012, Terry's parents filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against federal prosecutors and ATF agents, alleging they violated their own policies and that the so-called "Fast and Furious" sting helped arm violent criminals.

A spokesman for the slain agent's family, Terry's cousin Robert Heyer, declined comment on the latest arrest, citing "the sensitive nature of an ongoing investigation."

Three other members of the rip crew involved in the lethal gunfight, and a fourth man charged with conspiracy in the case, were ultimately convicted in U.S. federal court and sent to prison. The sixth man wanted in the slaying remained at large.


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