Tuesday, September 29, 2015



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Posted: Sep 29, 2015 5:07 PM MST
Updated: Sep 29, 2015 5:07 PM MST
Suspect in Brian Terry murder trial set to testify
Written By Lupita Murillo


TUCSON- A federal trial is moving forward for two men charged in the killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The defense is expected to present their case starting Wednesday, after the prosecution rested on Monday.

In a surprise move, one of the two men accused of killing Terry is expected to take the stand Wednesday morning. After a three hour session with attorney Ramiro Flores, Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza will be testifying on his own behalf.

The other defendant, Ivan Soto-Barraza, won't be taking the stand.

Terry was gunned down in 2010 near Rio Rico. Investigators say a so-called "rip-off" crew was there to rob marijuana smugglers, but got into a shootout with border agents instead.

Federal prosecutors say both Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza have confessed to being part of the "rip-off" crew.

The jury is expected to receive their instructions Wednesday afternoon.


Fast and Furious trial: Former FBI agent testifies suspects in killing admitted role in theft plan
Former FBI agent testifies suspects in killing admitted role in theft plan
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 8:33 am
Associated Press |


TUCSON — Prosecutors trying two men for the 2010 killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent rested their case Monday after a former FBI agent testified that the men confessed to being among armed thieves who planned on robbing marijuana smugglers on the night of the killing.
Retired FBI agent Todd Polley interviewed Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, also known as Lionel Portillo-Meza, and Ivan Soto-Barraza after they were arrested in Mexico in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The men are accused of being members of a five-man "rip crew" that had planned to rob drug smugglers when they encountered Brian Terry and three other agents on Dec. 14, 2010. A gunfight ensued and Terry was killed.
Defense attorney Ramiro Flores has said the defendants fled when shots were fired and did not initiate the firefight.
Two guns found at the scene were traced to a botched federal gun sting that allowed criminals to buy weapons with the intention of tracking them. Instead, federal agents lost most of the weapons.
Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza are the first defendants in the case to go on trial. Two others — including a man who assembled the crew but who was not present that night — have pleaded guilty and two are fugitives.
Polley said Soto-Barraza told him he was carrying a loaded assault rifle on the night Terry was shot.
"The weapon was to be used to rip off drug backpackers," Polley said.
But Flores challenged the accuracy of Polley's statement, saying the agent had only loosely translated what Sanchez-Meza said and had already prepared the suspect's written declaration before speaking with him.
For example, Polley testified that Sanchez-Meza said he'd been "patrolling" the area for drug smugglers, which Flores said as not a verbatim translation of what his client said.
"That was your spin on his rendition of his declaration," Flores said. "Why not stick to the words he actually used?"
Polley was the final witness for the prosecution. Other witnesses have said DNA and fingerprint evidence found at the scene match Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza. The defense will begin presenting witnesses Wednesday.
In early testimony, former agent William Castano broke down in tears as he described desperately trying to save Terry's life.
Castano was the leader of a four-man crew from an elite tactical unit on an operation aimed at arresting rip crew members. The team was set to be relieved an hour after the shooting occurred.


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