Ban­dits who prey on il­le­gals slay Border Pa­trol agent

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY JERRY SEPER

A U.S. Border Pa­trol agent at­tempt­ing to ar­rest ban­dits who prey on il­le­gal aliens was killed dur­ing a gun­fight about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mex­ico border near Rio Rico, Ariz., 60 miles south of Tuc­son.

Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was wait­ing with three other agents in a re­mote area north of No­gales late Dec. 14 when the gun­bat­tle with the ban­dits erupted. None of the other agents was in­jured, but one of the sus­pects was wounded.

Mr. Terry, who joined the agency three years ago and was a mem­ber of the Border Pa­trol’s elite Search, Trauma and Res­cue (BORSTAR) team, died early Dec. 15. Four of the sus­pected shoot­ers were taken into cus­tody. A fifth was still be­ing sought.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Janet Napoli­tano de­scribed the shoot­ing as “an un­con­scionable act of vi­o­lence” against those who serve and de­fend the coun­try

“Agent Terry was killed in the line of duty while con­fronting sev­eral sus­pects near Rio Rico, Ariz. It is a stark re­minder of the very real dangers our men and women on the front lines con­front ev­ery day as they pro­tect our com­mu­ni­ties and the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” she said.

“We are work­ing with other fed­eral, state and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to en­sure those re­spon­si­ble for this hor­ren­dous act are held re­spon­si­ble,” she said. “We will leave no stone un­turned as we seek jus­tice for the per­pe­tra­tors. We will honor his me­mory by re­main­ing res­o­lute and com­mit­ted to the se­ri­ous task of se­cur­ing our nation’s bor­ders.”

Ari­zona Gov. Jan Brewer said the state was “shocked and sad­dened” by the shoot­ing. She said fed­eral and state au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing those in Ari­zona, would “con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate and at­tempt to bring to jus­tice those who are re­spon­si­ble for this heinous crime.

“Al­though we needed no re­minder of the ever-in­creas­ing dangers along our south­ern border, this tragedy serves as stark no­tice that the threats fac­ing all who serve in pro­tect­ing our state and nation are real, and are in­creas­ing on a daily ba­sis,” she said. “We need to pray for all those in uni­form who per­form du­ties that al­low us to live in a safe and se­cure land.”

U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion de­scribed the killing as a “tragic re­minder of the ev­er­p­re­sent dangers” CBP agents, of­fi­cers and in­spec­tors face as they pro­tect the nation’s bor­ders.

The shoot­ing is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the FBI and the Santa Cruz County, Ariz., Sher­iff’s Of­fice. Ban­dits, usu­ally Mex­i­can na­tion­als, have long roamed border ar­eas, rob­bing and sex­u­ally as­sault­ing il­le­gal aliens as they cross into the U.S.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry fam­ily for their tragic loss,” said CBP Com­mis­sioner Alan Bersin. “Our com­mit­ment to Agent Terry and his fam­ily is that we will do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to bring to jus­tice those re­spon­si­ble for this de­spi- cable act.”

Mr. Terry is the third Border Pa­trol agent to die in the line of duty this year. Agent Michael Gal­lagher, 32, died in July when his pa­trol ve­hi­cle was struck by an­other ve­hi­cle near San Miguel, Ariz., and agent Mark Van Doren, 40, was killed in May when his pa­trol car col­lided with a bull and a tree on a ru­ral road near Rachal, Texas, while re­spond­ing to a call.

Bran­don Judd, pres­i­dent of Lo­cal 2544 of the Na­tional Border Pa­trol Coun­cil, which rep­re­sents non-su­per­vi­sory agents in the Tuc­son sec­tor, in­clud­ing Mr. Terry, said the union be­lieved the agent was killed by “il­le­gal alien ban­dits north of No­gales dur­ing a shootout.”

“By all ac­counts he was a fine agent,” Mr. Judd said. “This is one more ex­am­ple of the sacri- fices made by front-line agents, and it’s a ma­jor rea­son we are con­tin­u­ally out­raged by ac­tivists and self-serv­ing politi­cians in Washington, D.C., who sell us out with in­ces­sant talk about ‘amnesty’ for il­le­gal aliens.

“While they play games, our coun­try con­tin­ues to be in­vaded and Border Pa­trol agents con­tinue to pay the price,” he said.

Rep. La­mar Smith, Texas Repub­li­can and chair­man-elect of the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said 28,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 1,000 law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, have been killed over the past five years in the war on drugs along the south­west border. He called the Terry death a “sad re­minder of the real-life dangers that Amer­i­cans and our law en­force­ment agents face along the south­west border.”

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s

For more than two years, U.S. in­tel­li­gence and law en­force­ment of­fi­cials have been warn­ing that the dra­matic rise in vi­o­lence along the south­west­ern border could spread and even­tu­ally tar­get U.S. cit­i­zens. The vi­o­lence posed what the of­fi­cials called a “se­ri­ous threat” to law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, first re­spon­ders and res­i­dents along the 1,951-mile border.

lax en­force­ment of im­mi­gra­tion laws, cou­pled with calls for mass amnesty, only en­cour­age more il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” he said. “Our border re­mains por­ous and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has done noth­ing to stop the steady flow of hu­man and drug smug­gling from Mex­ico.”

Mr. Smith noted that ear­lier this year, Ari­zona rancher Robert Krentz was killed on his own prop­erty and that the sus­pect in the case is thought to have been an il­le­gal alien.

“What will it take to make the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­al­ize that we must do more to se­cure our border and keep Amer­i­cans safe? Last night, Border Pa­trol Agent Terry lost his life for sim­ply do­ing his job,” he said. “How many more Amer­i­cans will die be­fore the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion wakes up and starts tak­ing il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion se­ri­ously?”

Rep. Brian P. Bil­bray, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can and chair­man of the House Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form Cau­cus, said the shoot­ing was a “somber re­minder of the dan-. gers the men and women who safe­guard our bor­ders en­counter day and night as they shield us from vi­o­lence.”

“Each day Congress and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion fails to ad­dress the bru­tal re­al­ity of our south­ern border is an­other day the Amer­i­can peo­ple are be­reaved by sense­less acts of vi­o­lence and in­no­cent lives are taken on our soil,” he said. “Washington must act now to se­cure our border by giv­ing U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion the re­sources they need to de­fend us and end the in­cen­tives that breed vi­o­lence and at­tract those will­ing to break our laws.”

For more than two years, U.S. in­tel­li­gence and law en­force­ment of­fi­cials have been warn­ing that the dra­matic rise in vi­o­lence along the south­west­ern border could spread and even­tu­ally tar­get U.S. cit­i­zens. The vi­o­lence posed what the of­fi­cials called a “se­ri­ous threat” to law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, first re­spon­ders and res­i­dents along the 1,951mile border.

The num­bers bear out those con­cerns, ac­cord­ing to the State Depart­ment: 79 U.S. cit­i­zens were killed last year in Mex­ico, up from 35 in 2007. In Ciudad Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, 23 Amer­i­cans were killed in 2009, com­pared with two in 2007.

Last year, the Jus­tice Depart­ment iden­ti­fied more than 200 U.S. cities in which Mex­i­can drug car­tels “main­tain drug dis­tri­bu­tion net­works or sup­ply drugs to dis­trib­u­tors” — up from 100 three years ear­lier.

The depart­ment’s Na­tional Drug In­tel­li­gence Cen­ter, in its 2010 drug threat as­sess­ment re­port, de­scribed the car­tels as “the sin­gle great­est drug traf­fick­ing threat to the United States.” It said Mex­i­can gangs had es­tab­lished op­er­a­tions in ev­ery area of the United States and were ex­pand­ing into more ru­ral and sub­ur­ban ar­eas.

AP PHOTO/ GREG BRYAN, ARI­ZONA DAILY STAR

Death on the bor­der: An Amer­i­can flag on a nearby res­i­dent’s home waves in the breeze near a U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol truck block­ing the road lead­ing to a search area around the spot where agent Brian A. Terr y, 40, was killed nor thwest of No­gales, Ariz. on...

ASSOCIATED PRESS

‘IN THE LINE OF DUTY’: U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol Agent Brian A. Terr y.

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