Jul 9, 2012 1:36 PM
(NBC News) - Federal prosecutors are filing more charges in the murder of a US Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry, whose death is at the center of the controversy over the failed ATF gun tracing operation known as Fast and Furious.
The new charges accuse five men of being involved in the shootout with Terry that resulted in his death. Prosecutors say the men were in the US illegally, trying to rob drug couriers. Four of the men are fugitives, federal officials say, and the FBI will ask for public help in finding them. A federal official says it's assumed they are in Mexico.
Two guns that were allowed to "walk" across the border from the US to Mexico were found at the scene of Agent Terry's shooting, but those weapons have never been conclusively linked to his death.
Here's a portion of the text, just out, of the announcement of charges in the shooting of Agent Brian Terry. It names those indicted:
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An indictment charging five individuals involved in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed today in Tucson, and a reward of up to $1 million from the FBI for information leading to the arrest of four fugitives, was announced by Department of Justice officials.
According to the indictment, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza are charged with crimes including first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged only with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
The 11-count third superseding indictment, which was handed up by a federal grand jury in the District of Arizona on Nov. 7, 2011, alleges that on Dec. 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza) engaged in a firefight with Border Patrol agents. During the exchange of gunfire, Agent Terry was shot and killed. The indictment alleges that the defendants had illegally entered the United States from Mexico for the purpose of robbing drug traffickers of their contraband. In addition to the murder of Agent Terry, the indictment also alleges that the five defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza and Timothy Keller, who were with Agent Terry during the firefight.
"Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "This investigation has previously resulted in one defendant being charged with Agent Terry's murder and taken into custody, and today's announcement reflects the department's unrelenting commitment to finding and arresting the other individuals responsible for this horrific tragedy so that Agent Terry's family, friends and fellow law enforcement agents receive the justice they deserve."
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since his arrest the night of the shooting. Rito Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since Dec. 12, 2010, when he was arrested by Border Patrol agents on immigration charges. The indictment is being unsealed today in order to seek the public's assistance in locating the fugitive defendants.