Border Patrol agent is indicted in fatal shooting of Mexican teen

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fast-and-Furious Trial: Suspects charged in border agent’s slaying to face trial.

TUCSON, Ariz. TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A former Border Patrol agent broke down in tears as he described desperately trying to save the life of a colleague who was shot during a firefight that exposed the bungled federal gun operation known as Fast and Furious. It is the first criminal trial in Terry’s killing, which brought to light the government’s operation that allowed criminals to buy weapons with the intention of tracking them.

Instead, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost track of 1,400 of the 2,000 guns involved in the sting operation, including two weapons found at the scene of Terry’s killing. Castano became emotional in federal court in Tucson as he walked the jury through the night of Dec. 14, 2010, when he, Terry and two other agents were on a mission to arrest gangs known as rip crews that target marijuana smugglers. While the case will provide the first trial for suspects in Terry’s death, the judge has excluded any information about the failed operation during the case. Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, also known as Lionel Portillo-Meza, and Ivan Soto-Barraza will be the first to face trial. ”It’s gonna be an emotional time for us, but we’re just thankful that we have the opportunity to bring these two defendants to justice and we hope that the government is successful in getting convictions for these two individuals,” family spokesman Robert Heyer said. The operation became a major distraction for the Obama administration as Republicans in Congress conducted a series of inquiries into how the Justice Department allowed such an operation to happen.

Terry lost consciousness and other agents arrived to help carry him down a hill, which was no easy task given his muscular, 215-pound frame, Castano said. The agency has come under heavy criticism over allegations that agents too often use deadly force against immigrants, often in response to those who throw rocks. Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza face charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, assault on a federal officer, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Defense attorney Ramiro Flores was quick to point out that the agents deployed their beanbag shotguns first and three of the men ran away. “Someone triggered that firefight, and it wasn’t these individuals here,” Flores said of the defendants.

Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, accused of assembling the armed crew, struck a plea deal last month that will likely result in a 30-year prison sentence, with credit for time served.

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