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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced to Life Terms in Murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Robinson (619) 546-7994 or David Leshner (619) 546-7921


TUCSON, Arizona - Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Lionel Sanchez-Meza were sentenced to life terms today for the first-degree murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The defendants were also sentenced by U.S. District Judge David C. Bury to additional prison time for other crimes related to the murders. They received four 20-year terms each, which are to be served concurrently, and a 10-year term for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, which will run consecutive to the life terms.

Soto-Barraza and Sanchez-Meza were convicted by a federal jury in October of first-degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and assault on Agent Terry and three additional federal officers – Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza, and Timothy Keller.

According to evidence presented at trial, during the evening of December 14, 2010, Soto-Barraza, Sanchez-Meza and three other men were in the United States for the purpose of robbing drug traffickers of their contraband.  While Agent Terry and three other Border Patrol Agents were engaged in the performance of their official duties, members of the defendants’ group exchanged gun fire with the agents and one of the shots fired by a member of the defendants’ group killed Agent Terry.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said, “The jury's verdict and life sentences imposed today reflect a just result for a crime which has had a profound effect not only on the family of Agent Brian Terry, but also the men and women who daily put their lives at risk to keep us all safe.”

Two other men, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes and Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for their roles in Agent Terry’s death.  Yet another two men, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, remain fugitives.

At trial, the United States was represented by attorneys from the Southern District of California, Special Attorneys Todd W. Robinson and David Leshner.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is recused.  The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



Updated December 9, 2015

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: CAS15-1209-Barraza