Man convicted of murdering border agent in case that revealed 'Fast and Furious' operation

The murder shed light on an operation in which federal agents allowed criminals to buy guns with plan to track them to criminal organizations, but the ATF lost track of most of the firearms.
A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle returns from the scene of an overnight shootout where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed northwest of Nogales, Ariz.
A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle returns from the scene of an overnight shootout where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed northwest of Nogales, Ariz.Greg Bryan / Arizona Daily Star via AP file

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By Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz — A man accused of pulling the trigger in the 2010 shooting death of a Border Patrol agent in the southern Arizona desert was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday.

Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was found guilty by a U.S. District Court jury after brief deliberations, Tucson TV station KVOA reported. A sentencing date wasn't immediately available.

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Osorio-Arellanes was among seven people charged in the slaying of 40-year-old Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry north of Nogales, Arizona. He was arrested by Mexican authorities in April 2017 and extradited to the U.S. last August to stand trial.

Terry's killing publicly revealed the "Fast and Furious" operation, in which U.S. federal agents allowed criminals to buy firearms with the intention of tracking them to criminal organizations. But the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost track of most of the guns, including two found at scene of Terry's death.

The operation set off a political backlash against the Obama administration and prompted the agent's family to sue.

Terry was part of a four-man team in an elite Border Patrol unit staking out the southern Arizona desert on a mission to find "rip-off" crew members who rob drug smugglers. They encountered a group and identified themselves as police in trying to arrest them.

The men refused to stop, prompting an agent to fire bean bags at them. They responded by firing from AK-47-type assault rifles. Terry was struck in the back and died shortly afterward.

Five of the seven defendants charged in Terry's killing are serving prison sentences after pleading guilty or being convicted in the case. One other man was arrested in October 2017 and still is awaiting trial.