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N4T Investigators: Plea deal given to man indicted in murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry

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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.

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