One of the Mexican suspects accused of murdering Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with one of the firearms involved in the Operation Fast & Furious "gun-walking" scandal was arraigned on Friday after being extradited to the U.S. from Mexico City.
A report from the U.S. District Court in Tucson reveals that Lionel Portillo-Mezaaka, a/k/a Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, was formerly turned over to U.S.law enforcement agents on Tuesday and he was formally charged the following day in Tucson. On Friday, the Mexican criminal Portillo-Meza was informed he faces six felony charges that include murder-in-the-first-degree, murder-in-the-second-degree, and assaulting a federal law enforcement officer.
“This marks a major step forward in our aggressive pursuit of those responsible for the murder of Agent Brian Terry, who made the ultimate service while serving his country,” said Attorney General Holder. “By securing the extradition of this suspect, the Department of Justice has ensured that he will stand trial and face justice here in the United States. And we will never waver in our commitment to ensure that those who commit acts of violence against our best and bravest can be caught and held accountable—to the fullest extent of the law.”
Holder and his boss, President Barack Obama, were caught up in the Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry homicide when it was alleged that one of the rifles used to kill the young agent was part of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) covert operation that deteriorated into a major scandal and congressional probe, according to an Examiner news story in July 2011.
"While I'm glad they've got another Brian Terry killer ready to stand trial, I'm not holding my breathe for Holder and Obama to have him questioned about how he received the weapons he and his gang used against the Border Patrol agent. That would be too much to ask from that hotbed of corruption in Washington," said former police commander and corporate security director Steven Xavier Clarke.
On the night he was murdered, Agent Terry was on patrol in the Rio Rico region in Arizona with three other Border Patrol agents. During their patrol the agents came upon heavily armed five-man gang who were involved in the robberies of drug and contraband smugglers and illegal immigrants.
According to Terry’s three partners, one of the agents shouted “Police!” in English and "Policia!" in Spanish and the Mexicans began shooting at the agents, leaving Terry mortally wounded by a single gunshot during the firefight.
One of the suspects, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, was shot and wounded. He was the only gang member nabbed by the border agents that night. The other four suspects fled back across the order into Mexico.
Portillo-Meza was arrested by the Mexican Federales (federal police) in September 2012 and has been in Mexican custody until they turned him over to U.S. FBI agents this week. Following Portillo-Meza's arrest in 2012, co-defendant Ivan Soto-Barraza was nabbed near El Fuerte, Sinaloa, exactly one year later. He still awaits being extradited to the U.S.
The two remaining fugitives, Jesus Rosario Favela Astorga and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, are said to be hiding somewhere in Mexico. The shot-and-wounded Manuel Osorio-Arellanes pleaded guilty in February 2013 to first-degree murder and is presently serving a 30-year federal prison sentence.