Tuesday, August 11, 2015



Note:  very light sentences 

N4T Investigators: Plea deal given to man indicted in murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry
Written By Michel Marizco
Written By Lupita Murillo

One of the men charged in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry pleaded guilty to one count of murder, Monday morning. Once a potential candidate for the death penalty after the murder of the agent, the drawn up plea deal now states that the U.S. and the defendant will ask for 360 months imprisonment, with credit for time served since his arrest in October 2012.

The Justice Department indicted Rosario Rafael Burboa Alvarez last summer in connection with the killing. Alvarez was identified as the recruiter for the rip-off crew that ran into Terry's elite BORTAC unit in the desert in December 2010. Terry was killed in the ensuing gunfight with the rip-off crew and later two AK-47 variants found at the crime scene were identified as part of the notorious Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gunwalking operation, Operation Fast and Furious. The scandalous operation was supposed to link guns bought at a Phoenix-area gunstore to cartel gunmen trafficking the weapons to Mexico. Instead, ATF lost more than 2,000 of those weapons. Resulting congressional investigations found that the men linked to the gun purchases were being monitored by different U.S. federal agencies like DEA, the FBI and ATF, but agents weren't sharing the information with the other agencies.

Burboa was often identified in federal search warrants and charging papers as the recruiter of the group. Burboa, the U.S. said, recruited rip-off crews to rob drug smugglers of their marijuana loads, then paid them after they performed the robbery and returned to Sinaloa. In early December, the rip-off crew entered the U.S. from Mexico, retrieved a stash of weapons and food and went to work, hunting smugglers. Instead, they encountered Terry's tactical unit that had taken position at the top of a wash.

As part of the plea agreement, the United States agreed not to execute Burboa and to dismiss all other charges against him, including charges of interfering with federal officers and killing Terry with "malice aforethought" the second charge in the superseding indictment.

The plea deal also notes that Burboa had already been ordered expelled from the U.S., though it is not clear if the expulsion order derives from Terry's murder or from a previous crime.

Burboa's 30 year sentence is in line with the sentence handed to Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, the man wounded during the firefight. Osorio-Arellanes faced life but was ultimately sentenced to 30 years in 2012. Jaime Avila, Jr., the Operation Fast and Furious gunbuyer who purchased the two AK-47s found at the murder scene was also sentenced in 2012. He received a 57 month sentence.


Suspect charged in border agent's slaying takes plea deal
ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 11, 2015 @ 6:02 am

TUCSON, Ariz. — A suspect in the 2010 killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent has struck a plea deal in the slaying that is at the center of a scandal over a botched U.S. gun-smuggling probe known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and will likely be sentenced to 30 years in prison. The plea deal struck this week allows him credit for time served.

Burboa-Alvarez is accused of assembling the armed crew that was supposed to steal marijuana from smugglers when they encountered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others on Dec. 14, 2010. He initially pleaded not guilty.

A gun fight between the so-called "rip-off crew" and border agents ensued, and Terry was killed. Authorities later discovered that two of the guns found at the scene of the murder had been part of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in which the federal government allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix-area shops with the intention of tracking them once they made their way into Mexico. But the agency lost track of more than 1,400 of the 2,000 guns they allowed smugglers to buy.

The scandal resulted in the resignation of top officials.

Since then, authorities have focused on arresting and trying all suspects involved.

The first was Manual Osorio-Arellanes, who was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in February 2014 after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. Osorio-Arellanes was wounded in the shooting and maintains that he was not the shooter. Prosecutors said he was likely not the one who shot Terry, but he should still be held accountable for his role in the agent's death.

Two others who were at the scene of the slaying are facing charges in Arizona after being extradited from Mexico.

Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, also known as Lionel Portillo-Meza, was extradited in June 2014. Ivan Soto-Barraza was captured in Mexico in September 2013 and was brought to the U.S. on July 31, 2014. Two others, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, remain fugitives.

The suspects in custody are being prosecuted in federal court in Tucson by prosecutors from San Diego. Trial for Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza is scheduled for Sept. 22.


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