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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Monday, February 10, 2014

Defendant Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For First Degree Murder

Individual Involved In The Death Of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

SAN DIEGO, CA - Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, age 37, was sentenced to 30 years in prison today in United States District Court in Tucson, AZ, for the first degree murder of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, announced Laura E. Duffy, United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. Agent Terry was shot and killed on December 14, 2010, when the defendant and four others engaged in a firefight with Border Patrol agents.

According to the plea agreement entered in October 2012, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes admitted that during the evening of December 14, 2010, he and others were in the United States for the purpose of robbing drug traffickers of their contraband. While Agent Terry was engaged in the performance of his official duties, members of the defendant’s group exchanged gun fire with agents and one of the shots fired by a member of the defendant’s group killed Agent Terry.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy said, “Nothing can bring back Agent Terry, who gave his life protecting our country. Our hope is that, starting today with this significant sentence, justice will give some modicum of relief to grieving family members. We will continue our unrelenting pursuit of those responsible for the tragic attack against Agent Terry.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas G. Price, Phoenix Division, stated, “Today’s sentencing is another step forward in getting justice in the case involving the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and his family. The FBI remains steadfast in our constant pursuit of those responsible for the death of Agent Terry and we will utilize all available resources to apprehend those responsible for this heinous murder”.

“The sentencing of another individual responsible for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry is critically important to the men and women of our agency,” said Manuel Padilla Jr., Chief Patrol Agent, Tucson Sector, U.S. Border Patrol. “We are extremely grateful for the effort and tireless dedication to this case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Government of Mexico.While we will continue to be relentless in our commitment to securing our Nation’s borders, we will forever remember all of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

On July 20, 2012, in order to seek the public’s assistance, Department of Justice officials announced a reward of up to $1 million dollars for information leading to the arrest of four fugitives: Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, and Lionel Portillo-Meza.

Lionel Portillo-Meza and Ivan Soto-Barraza have been captured in Mexico. These defendants are charged with crimes including first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. In addition to the murder of Agent Terry, the indictment also alleges that the defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza, and Timothy Keller, who were with Agent Terry during the firefight.

A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, pled guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and was sentenced to eight years in prison in January 2013. Rito Osorio- Arellanes was not present at the incident that resulted in Agent Terry’s murder.

This case is being prosecuted in federal court in Tucson by attorneys from the Southern District of California, Special Attorneys Todd W. Robinson, David D. Leshner, and Fred Sheppard. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is recused. This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The public is reminded that an indictment is a formal charging document and defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated July 23, 2015