Armed illegals stalked Border Patrol
Mexicans were 'patrolling' when agent was slain, indictment says
By Jerry Seper-The Washington Times Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Border
Patrol agent Brian A. Terry called out, "I'm hit," after a bullet
pierced his aorta. He died at the scene. (Associated Press)
Five illegal immigrants armed with at least two AK-47 semi-automatic
assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a
desert watering hole known as Mesquite Seep just north of the Arizona-
Mexico border when a firefight erupted and one U.S. agent was killed,
A now-sealed federal grand jury indictment in the death of Border
Patrol agent Brian A. Terry says the Mexican nationals were
"patrolling" the rugged desert area of Peck Canyon at about 11:15
p.m. on Dec. 14 with the intent to "intentionally and forcibly
assault" Border Patrol agents.
At least two of the Mexicans carried their assault rifles "at the
ready position," one of several details about the attack showing that
Mexican smugglers are becoming more aggressive on the U.S. side of
According to the indictment, the Mexicans were "patrolling the area
in single-file formation" a dozen miles northwest of the border town
of Nogales and — in the darkness of the Arizona night — opened fire
on four Border Patrol agents after the agents identified themselves
in Spanish as police officers.
Two AK-47 assault rifles found at the scene came from the failed Fast
and Furious operation.
Using thermal binoculars, one of the agents determined that at least
two of the Mexicans were carrying rifles, but according to an
affidavit in the case by FBI agent Scott Hunter, when the Mexicans
did not drop their weapons as ordered, two agents used their shotguns
to fire "less than lethal" beanbags at them.
At least one of the Mexicans opened fire and, according to the
affidavit, Terry, a 40-year-old former U.S. Marine, was shot in the
back. A Border Patrol shooting-incident report said that Terry called
out, "I'm hit," and then fell to the ground, a bullet having pierced
his aorta. "I can't feel my legs," Terry told one of the agents who
cradled him. "I think I'm paralyzed."
Bleeding profusely, he died at the scene.
After the initial shots, two agents returned fire, hitting Manuel
Osorio-Arellanes, 33, in the abdomen and leg. The others fled. The
FBI affidavit said Osorio-Arellanes admitted during an interview that
all five of the Mexicans were armed.
Peck Canyon is a notorious drug-smuggling corridor.
Osorio-Arellanes initially was charged with illegal entry, but that
case was dismissed when the indictment was handed up. It named Osorio-
Arellanes on a charge of second-degree murder, but did not identify
him as the likely shooter, saying only that Osorio-Arellanes and
others whose names were blacked out "did unlawfully kill with malice
aforethought United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry while
Agent Terry was engaged in … his official duties."
The indictment also noted that Osorio-Arellanes had been convicted in
Phoenix in 2006 of felony aggravated assault, had been detained twice
in 2010 as an illegal immigrant, and had been returned to Mexico
Bill Brooks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's acting southwest
border field branch chief, referred inquiries to the FBI, which is
conducting the investigation. The FBI declined to comment.
The case against Osorio-Arellanes and others involved in the shooting
has since been sealed, meaning that neither the public nor the media
has access to any evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.
The U.S. attorney's office in San Diego, which is prosecuting the
case, would confirm only that it was sealed. Also sealed was the
judge's reason for sealing the case.
The indictment lists the names of other suspects in the shooting, but
they are redacted.
In the Terry killing, two Romanian-built AK-47 assault rifles found
at the scene were identified as having been purchased in a Glendale,
Ariz., gun shop as part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives' (ATF) failed Fast and Furious investigation.
A number of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents have questioned why
the case has not gone to trial, nearly a year after Terry's killing.
Several also have concerns about the lack of transparency in the
investigation, compounded now by the fact that the court case has
Shawn P. Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council,
which represents all 17,000 nonsupervisory agents, said it is rare
for illegal immigrants or drug smugglers to engage agents in the
desert, saying they usually "drop their loads and take off south."
"The Brian Terry murder was a real wake-up call," Mr. Moran said. "It
emphasizes the failed state of security on the U.S. border, which
poses more of a threat to us than either Iraq or Afghanistan. We have
terrorism going on right on the other side of the fence, and we're
arming the drug cartels.
"My biggest fear is that someday a cartel member is going to go
berserk, stick a rifle through the fence and kill as many Border
Patrol agents as he can," he said.
Mr. Moran said he understood the "rationale of working things up the
food chain," as suggested in the Fast and Furious probe, but had no
idea how ATF planned to arrest cartel members who ultimately
purchased the weapons since the agency lacks jurisdiction south of
the border and never advised Mexican authorities about the operation.
"It was a ridiculous idea from the beginning, and it baffles us on
how it was ever approved," he said.
Mr. Moran also challenged the use of less-than-lethal s in the
shooting incident, saying field agents have been "strong-armed" by
the agency's leadership to use nonlethal weapons. He said they were
not appropriate for the incident in which Terry was killed.
"That was no place for beanbag rounds," he said, noting that the
encounter was at least 12 miles inside the U.S. and was carried out
by armed men looking specifically to target Border Patrol agents.
CBP has said Terry and the agents with him carried fully loaded
sidearms, along with two additional magazines, and were not under
orders to use nonlethal ammunition first.
Mr. Moran, himself a veteran Border Patrol agent, said he also was
"surprised" that the suspected Mexican gunmen were carrying their
weapons at the ready position, meaning that the butts of the weapons
were placed firmly in the pocket of the shoulder with the barrels
pointed down at a 45-degree angle. He said this probably meant they
had some level of military training.
More than 250 incursions by Mexican military personnel into the
United States have been documented over the past several years.
The Border Patrol has warned agents in Arizona that many of the
intruders were "trained to escape, evade and counter-ambush" if
detected. The agency cautioned agents to keep "a low profile," to use
"cover and concealment" in approaching the Mexican units, to employ
"shadows and camouflage" to conceal themselves and to "stay as quiet
Several of the incursions occurred in the same area where Terry was
killed, including a 2005 incident in which two agents were shot and
wounded by assailants dressed in black commando-type clothing in what
law-enforcement authorities said was a planned ambush. More than 50
rounds were fired at the agents after they spotted the suspected gunmen.
Many of the Mexican drug cartels use former Mexican soldiers, police
and federal agents to protect drug loads headed into the U.S. Many
cartel leaders also have targeted U.S. Border Patrol agents and state
and local police, sometimes offering bounties of up to $50,000.
Note: Latest incident in same area, could be Mex. law enforcement is
taking some control of area?
Posted November 22, 2011, 1:48 a.m.
Executed 3 in Tumacacori
Three bodies were found yesterday south of Nogales, Arizona.
Twenty miles from both Nogales and six west of the road to Tucson,
Nogales, Arizona - New Day
Three bodies of suspected drug traffickers were found yesterday with
the "coup de grace" at noon on a lot located in the Tumacacori
Mountains north of this city.
They were discovered by Border Patrol agents in a land far away known
as "Devil's Canyon."
Immediately notified the sheriff's office at 11:00 hours and the
difficulties to reach the site the bodies were moved by helicopter,
"This is the first triple murder that touches me in my career," said
Sheriff Antonio Estrada, who has been sheriff for the County of Santa
Cruz for 19 years.
"These murderers are trying to send a message to someone obviously
because they are execution-style reckoning."
The police chief said they found no signs of torture or moorings in
the bodies or identification documents at the site, located about six
miles west of Interstate 19 to Tucson. It is a mountainous area
described as "very remote".
The bodies were no more than a week.
Some researchers had reached the scene by air and others arrived in
The case remains under investigation, but the sheriff said Estrada is
likely that the murders are related to the traffic of drugs, and
deaths allegedly were "burreros" or "mules" who were deceived.