A seventh defendant has been charged in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, whose killing exposed a botched Justice Department gun-running sting operation known as Fast and Furious.
Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez was indicted on first-degree murder and other charges by a federal grand jury Thursday in Tucson, where he was already in custody.
Attorney General Eric Holder called the indictment “another important step to keep our commitment to bring those responsible for his murder to justice.”
“When Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry lost his life in the line of duty, in 2010, our nation incurred a tremendous debt to this American hero — and his family — that we can never fully repay,” he said. “We will continue to be aggressive in our pursuit of anyone — anywhere — who commits an act of violence against an American law enforcement official. And we will do everything in our power to ensure that they will face justice in an American courtroom. This is our solemn obligation.”
The House cited Mr. Holder with contempt of Congress in 2012 for withhold documents from a congressional investigation into Fast and Furious, a “gun-walking” operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sold guns to gang members and tried to trace them back to Mexican cartel kingpins.
The ATF eventually admitted that it lost track of about 2,000 firearms that made it across the border. Some of the guns were found at crime scenes, including at the killing of Mr. Terry.
Mr. Terry was fatally shot Dec. 14, 2010, when he and other Border Patrol agents encountered armed robbers in a rural area north of Nogales, Arizona. Of the defendants charged so far, two have pleaded guilty, three are awaiting trial and two are fugitives.
The indictment described Mr. Burboa-Alvarez, 30, as the recruiter who assembled the crew of armed robbers to travel from Mexico to the United States and forcibly take marijuana from smugglers through threats and violence.
The crew members identified in the indictment include Manuel Osorio Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, Lionel Portillo-Meza and Rito Osorio-Arellanes.
The indictment charges Burboa-Alvarez and others with first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and attempted interference with commerce by robbery.
Other crew members are also charged with use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and assault on a federal officer. In addition to the murder of Mr. Terry, the indictment alleges that the defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza, and Timothy Keller, who were with Mr. Terry during the firefight.