Seventh Defendant Sentenced In Murder Of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

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U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry (Source: U.S. Border Patrol)

On Thursday, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga was sentenced in federal court to 50 years in prison for the murder of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010. Favela-Astorga pleaded guilty to Agent Terry’s murder in April 2022.

Favela-Astorga is the seventh and final defendant to be convicted and sentenced in this case.

Border Patrol Agent Terry was murdered in the desert near Rio Rico, Ariz., on Dec. 14, 2010, with guns purchased in the government’s failed gun running scheme known as Fast and Furious.

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Favela-Astorga admitted as part of his guilty plea, and evidence presented at two trials in this case in 2015 and 2019 established, that he was one of several armed bandits who had traveled from Mexico to the U.S. to hunt for marijuana smugglers to rob. At the time, Agent Terry and other members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) were on extended deployment in the desert to apprehend such robbery crews.

On December 14, near midnight, Agent Terry’s team attempted to arrest Favela-Astorga’s crew in a rural area north of Nogales, Arizona. A member of the robbery crew fired at the agents, hitting Agent Terry in the back and severing his spinal cord and aorta. According to evidence presented at the prior trials, Agent Terry called to a fellow agent, “Willie, I’m hit! I can’t feel my legs.” BORTAC agents, still under fire, tried to save Agent Terry but were unsuccessful.

Evidence from the trials established the five bandits at the scene were armed with four AK-47-style assault rifles and an AR-15 assault rifle and had food to last for days.

Favela-Astorga and others fled back to Mexico, leaving behind Manuel Osorio-Arellanes who had been shot in the stomach by agents. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes was convicted and sentenced in 2014 to 30 years in prison after cooperating in identifying other members of the robbery crew who were fugitives.

Mexican authorities arrested Favela-Astorga in October 2017 based on a provisional arrest warrant issued at the request of the United States. He was extradited to the United States in January 2020.

The other members of the robbery crew at the scene were Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, Ivan Soto-Barraza, and Jesus Lionel Sanchez-Meza. All three were arrested in Mexico years after the shooting. Soto-Barraza and Sanchez-Meza were extradited to the United States in 2014, convicted at trial in December 2015, and sentenced to life in prison. Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was extradited to the United States in 2018, convicted at trial in February 2019, and sentenced to life in prison.

In addition, Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez pleaded guilty to murder and, while not at the firefight, admitted he recruited the crew members in Mexico. Burboa-Alvarez was sentenced to 324 months in prison. Border Patrol agents also had arrested Rito Osorio-Arellanes on immigration charges two days before the shootout, unaware he was part of the robbery crew. Osorio later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and was sentenced to 96 months in prison.

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