Fugi­tive wanted for killing Bor­der Agent is ar­rested in Mex­ico

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Mex­i­can au­thor­i­ties said Thurs­day they’ve ar­rested one of the fugi­tives wanted on mur­der charges in the death of Bor­der Pa­trol Agent Brian Terry — a shoot­ing that drew new at­ten­tion to the dan­ger­ous bor­der and ex­posed a botched Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion gun crimes probe.

Her­a­clio Osorio-Arel­lanes was part of a five-man “rip crew” that pa­trolled the bor­der look­ing to rob drug smug­glers, U.S. of­fi­cials said. A team of agents got on their trail in De­cem­ber 2014 and the crew de­cided to shoot it out, killing Terry in the ex­change.

Two of the weapons the crew used were part of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s botched Op­er­a­tion Fast and Fu­ri­ous, which had al­lowed straw pur­chasers to buy weapons in the U.S. and then smug­gle them back to Mex­ico, where many ended up in the hands of the car­tels.

Terry’s slaying put an end to the op­er­a­tion.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John F. Kelly praised Mex­ico for the ar­rest Thurs­day, at a time when re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries have been oth­er­wise strained by Pres­i­dent Trump’s rhetor­i­cal jabs at the U.S.’ south­ern neigh­bor.

“Un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, we have re­newed our co­op­er­a­tion with Mex­ico to bet­ter se­cure our bor­der and ad­dress cross-bor­der crime,” Mr. Kelly said. “This lat­est ar­rest il­lus­trates the com­mit­ment of the ad­min­is­tra­tion to seek jus­tice for the brave law en­force­ment per­son­nel who risk their lives ev­ery day to pro­tect the bor­der.”

Four other mem­bers of the rip crew have al­ready been ap­pre­hended. Still at large is Je­sus Favela-As­torga.

U.S. of­fi­cials had of­fered a $250,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest of Mr. Osorio-Arel­lanes. The Associated Press re­ported he is be­ing pro­cessed for ex­tra­di­tion to the U.S. He was in­dicted in 2011, along with the other sus­pects, in fed­eral court in Ari­zona.

The Fast and Fu­ri­ous op­er­a­tion was an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ini­tia­tive de­signed to track guns that were be­ing bought in the South­west by straw pur­chasers who then sold them to crim­i­nals.

But the Amer­i­can au­thor­i­ties over­see­ing the op­er­a­tion lost track of the guns they al­lowed to be bought, and hun­dreds of them ended up with Mex­i­can car­tels, where they were used in some of the coun­try’s hor­rific drug war killings.

Terry’s slaying also drew at­ten­tion to the dan­ger­ous bor­der re­gion, which has seen drug car­tels com­mand large swaths of U.S. ter­ri­tory.

The rip crew reg­u­larly snuck into the U.S. and pa­trolled Amer­i­can ter­ri­tory in Ari­zona, look­ing in par­tic­u­lar for mar­i­juana smug­glers who could be robbed, ac­cord­ing to U.S. au­thor­i­ties.

The Bor­der Pa­trol team that Terry had been part of had re­cently be­gun try­ing to track down the crew. The night of the en­counter, four agents got onto the trail of the rip crew. They iden­ti­fied them­selves, in Span­ish, as po­lice, and the gun­bat­tle en­sued.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mex­i­can au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested Her­a­clio Osorio-Arel­lanes, the sus­pected shooter in the 2010 killing of U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol Agent Brian Terry, whose death ex­posed a an em­barass­ingly bun­gled gun-track­ing op­er­a­tion by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

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