Note: ICE / DHS/ DOJ / Fed courts dysfunctional? Who would have
The Brothers Arellanes
The man held in connection with the murder of Agent Brian Terry has a
crime-ridden past—and so does at least one relative
by Leo W. Banks
Photo COURTESY MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, who has a lengthy criminal record, was
wounded in a gunfight with Border Patrol agents the night of Brian
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's border strategy is to
push as much of the illicit traffic as possible out of towns and
settled areas, and into the backcountry.
Out of sight, out of mind. With the smugglers high up in the
mountains and in remote canyons, she gains enough political cover to
stand up and say the border is largely secure, so let's move on to
comprehensive immigration reform.
But the strategy hasn't stopped the traffic; it's only moved it—into
the neighborhoods of rural Southern Arizonans, which explains why
these folks push back so loudly and so emotionally against the
Everything is on the line for them—their property, their families and
their lives, as they try to stay away from dangerous smugglers
crossing their land. They believe one of them killed rancher Rob
Krentz in March 2010, and another murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian
Terry along the Peck Canyon smuggling corridor, northwest of Nogales,
on Dec. 14, 2010.
In the latter case, four men were arrested following the Terry
incident—all illegal aliens. Three were judged not to be involved and
were deported. The fourth, 34-year-old Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, is
still being held for trial, now scheduled for May 10, on a felony
charge of re-entry after deportation.
If you live along a smuggling corridor in the remote borderlands, or
work for the Border Patrol and police those areas, men like Arellanes
are your worst nightmare.
He was one of five armed men—part of a "rip crew" of border bandits
who refused to drop their weapons when ordered to do so by agents
from Border Patrol's elite BORTAC unit. In the deadly shootout that
followed, Arellanes was wounded. He admitted carrying a rifle,
according to an FBI search warrant, but claimed he did not fire when
he realized the men they'd encountered were Border Patrol agents.
Arellanes' criminal past includes domestic violence, drug and alcohol
abuse, and violence against police, according to records in Maricopa
County. Moreover, Arellanes might've been working the Peck Corridor
with Rito Osorio-Arellanes, who is believed to be Manuel's brother.
Rito was arrested in the same area two days before Terry's murder.
Federal court records show that Rito—whose name, like Manuel's, is
spelled in multiple ways in public documents—was taken into custody
on Dec. 12 near Rio Rico. Smugglers, bandits and illegal aliens often
enter and exit the Peck corridor at Rio Rico, which is close to Peck
Well, the area of the Coronado National Forest where the murder
occurred on Dec. 14.
After his arrest in Mesa on March 16, 2004, for selling $20 worth of
crack cocaine to an undercover detective in Pioneer Park, Rito said
if released, he would go live with his brother in Mesa. Rito was a
transient at the time. Manuel was also was living in Mesa then, and
in court records, both gave their address as Pasadena Street.
Rito also had a criminal record in this country, and he told a
Maricopa County probation officer in 2004 that he had done time in
Mexico for homicide. In a pre-sentencing report, the probation
officer wrote that he did not verify that statement.
Rito's lawyer, Daniel Anderson, says he heard that Rito's brother had
been shot by Border Patrol agents, but knew nothing more about it. As
for Rito's past in Mexico, Anderson said he was unaware of it—and
couldn't talk about it even if he were.
The Tucson Weekly tried to confirm Rito's statement through the
Mexican Foreign Ministry in Washington, D.C., but was unsuccessful as
of our press time.
Were Manuel and Rito working together in Peck Canyon? Were they part
of the same crew that was assaulting, raping and robbing illegals and
rival drug mules using that corridor?
Court records also detail the border-area arrests of another man with
the same last name: Daniel Osorio-Arellanes, 35. Like Rito, Daniel is
from Sinaloa, Mexico.
Border Patrol arrested him on Oct. 20, 2008, near the border town of
Sasabe, Ariz. Although the record is unclear, he was likely
voluntarily returned to Mexico, which basically means he was pushed
back across the line.
But the next day, he was arrested again, this time in Amado, near
Interstate 10 and Arivaca Road. Court records show he had been
deported three years earlier, on Oct. 18, 2005. The government
dismissed the felony charge of re-entry after deportation, and Daniel
pleaded guilty to misdemeanor entry without inspection. He served 180
days in jail.
Prior to all of this, on Oct. 7, 2008, Mexican police arrested Daniel
in Altar, Sonora, just south of Sasabe, for possession of
methamphetamine, according to information from Mexico's attorney
Meth is commonly used by coyotes and drug-smugglers for the energy
boost it provides. Coyotes give it to the people they're guiding to
keep them walking through the night, a dangerous tactic that can
Meth has played a key role in the criminal histories of Manuel and
Rito as well. Both also have multiple deportations—but the open
border allows them to keep returning to this country.
Manuel was detained in Mesa on Nov. 17, 2003, for resisting arrest.
According to the Mesa police report, when officers responded to a
call about a man looking into backyards and "possibly casing houses,"
they found Manuel yelling in Spanish at a woman waiting in her car
for her daughter outside of New Horizon elementary school.
Manuel refused commands to move away from the car, and when police
tried to arrest him, Manuel "spun away from our grasp and attempted
to run," the report said. He continued to struggle after being
To get him into a patrol car, officers had to wrestle him to the
street twice and Taser him twice, to minimal effect. At the Mesa
jail, he fought officers again, after which paramedics were called to
take him to the hospital due to a rapid heartbeat.
Manuel, a day laborer in the country illegally, admitted that he used
marijuana, cocaine and meth, according to a pre-sentencing report by
a Maricopa County probation officer.
He said he began smoking marijuana frequently at age 13. He began
using meth "one or two times per month" at 26, and had last used the
drug two weeks before his arrest.
He pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 18 months
of supervised probation.
After a period during which Manuel seemed to do well, passing all
court-ordered urinalysis tests, he was arrested again on May 21,
2006, for aggravated assault on a police officer.
Officers were summoned to his house in Mesa on a domestic-violence
call after his wife reported that Manuel was drunk and causing a
disturbance. Police had been to the house several times in previous
months for the same trouble.
As an officer approached him, Manuel said, "Don't arrest me." When
the officer attempted to handcuff him, Manuel punched the policeman
in the face, causing a bloody cut on his left cheek and a bloody lip.
Court papers in Maricopa County state that Manuel admitted using
cocaine the day of the arrest. He also said that in the three months
prior to his arrest, he'd been using meth, and it had made him "very
paranoid," according to the pre-sentencing report.
The report also noted that the officer with whom Manuel fought had
been to the house before, on a domestic call during which Arellanes
had "smacked up his wife pretty good."
The report provides a glimpse into Manuel's life. He admitted coming
to the country illegally in 1999. He said he was married and had two
Beginning in March 2003, he worked as an $11-per-hour tile-setter for
a company in Gilbert. In a letter to the court, his boss said he was
pleased to have Manuel on his staff, because he was "a very
dependable and reliable worker."
But in a phone interview with the Weekly, company owner Slobadan Daki
said that "was on the days when he showed up."
Manuel pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault on a police
officer and got 60 days in jail, followed by three years of
probation. He also was ordered to undergo domestic-violence and anger-
management counseling, and submit to DNA testing for law-enforcement
Court records show that Manuel's next arrest occurred six months
before the Terry murder, on June 8, 2010, when Border Patrol agents
found him after he had entered the country illegally near Nogales. He
pleaded guilty to that crime and was deported on June 14—his last
known appearance in the country before his re-entry in December.
Clay Hernandez, Manuel's lawyer, did not return a phone call to talk
about his client.
Manuel has not been charged in the Terry murder, presumably because
the FBI is unable to link the AK-47 he carried to the killing. FBI
spokesman Manuel Johnson declined to comment on the ongoing
Multiple media sources have reported that two AK-47s were recovered
at the scene. The guns have been traced to a three-gun cash purchase
from the Lone Wolf Trading Company gun shop in Glendale, Ariz., on
Jan. 16, 2010, according to a federal indictment.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the matter said the third
AK-47 from that buy, possibly the murder weapon, has never been
located and is a key component of the FBI's effort to identify a killer.
As for Rito, now 40 years old, he pleaded guilty to his 2004 crack-
cocaine arrest, serving 100 days in jail and getting three years of
probation. He told police he was selling drugs to buy food. He
acknowledged needing help for his addictions, saying he'd been
drinking six to 12 beers a day prior to his arrest and smoking meth
daily for two years.
While still on probation, on March 24, 2006, Rito was again arrested
in Pioneer Park, for possession of crack cocaine. He gave police a
false name and date of birth.
Rito explained to court officials that following his earlier
deportation, he returned illegally to the United States again around
January 2005 out of economic necessity. He supported himself by
waiting on street corners two or three mornings per week to get day-
labor jobs that paid $50 to $60 in cash per day.
He admitted to using $60 a day worth of meth or crack, in addition to
drinking one to two six-packs of beer a day. He pleaded guilty to
possession of drug paraphernalia and spent 30 days in jail, which was
followed by three years of probation.
Court records show Rito was deported through Nogales on Feb. 11,
2010. After that, he disappeared from public view until two days
before the Terry murder, when Border Patrol arrested him at Rio Rico.
He is scheduled to stand trial in federal court in Tucson on June 14
on a felony charge of re-entry after deportation.