TUCSON, AZ - The FBI announced the names of the four fugitives they're searching for in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Terry was shot in the back and killed near the Arizona-Mexico border in December 2010.
In a Monday morning news conference, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said they unsealed the indictment charging five people involved in Terry's death.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading up to their arrests.
The FBI identified the suspects as 31-year-old Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, 34-year-old Ivan Soto-Barraza, 34-year-old Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza, who is in his mid 20s to early 30s.
They're 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.
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since the night of the shooting, and Rito Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since Dec. 12, 2010, the FBI said.
Federal authorities insist the decision to wait more than a year and a half to reveal the faces and names of the men accused and ask for the public's help was the right strategy.
They still won't reveal which bullet from which gun killed Terry, and whether it was linked to the ATF's Fast and Furious case. Two weapons from that murder scene are linked to that controversial case in which federal agents allowed criminals to obtain and transport guns without doing anything about it.
"We want justice for Brian Terry and Brian Terry's family," said FBI Special Agent James Turgal. "I believe the decision we have made is the right one."
U.S Attorney Laura Duffy said the "case is receiving their full attention." She promised investigators will not be distracted despite questions about the weapon that killed Terry.
Duffy said members of Agent Terry's group tried to save him when he was shot, but he died on the scene of the shooting.
"Agents deployed non-lethal bean bag rounds to subdue the subject, the subjects at that point opened fire on the agents, the agents returned fire and a single bullet shot by one of the subjects struck Agent Terry," said Duffy.
Brian Terry 's family, which launched a website dedicated to their son and the ongoing investigation, was pleased with today's announcement that progress has been made in the murder investigation. They issued the following statement:
"It has been a difficult 18 months for the family since Brian Terry was murdered in December of 2010 and today's announcement provides hope that justice will eventually be served," said Robert Heyer, Chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation and cousin to Brian Terry. "The Terry family would like to thank U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy and her team of prosecutors along with the special agents of the FBI's Tucson Office and the Mexico City Legal Attaché who have continued to pursue leads in the murder case that ultimately led to the additional indictments of the four fugitive defendants. The Terry family would also like to thank the government of Mexico for their assistance in the investigation. It is the family's hope that the unsealing of details in the case, the identification of the four fugitives and the issuance of reward monies will lead to the eventual capture of all individuals responsible for the murder of Agent Terry."
"Today's developments certainly mean that the criminal prosecution of Brian Terry's killers is moving forward," said Terry family attorney Patrick McGroder. "However, the accountability aspect of Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed ATF/DOJ gun trafficking investigation that put weapons into the hands of the men that killed Brian Terry, remains stalled. The Terry family once again asks that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice comply with the request for documents made by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee so that all Americans can know who approved of the operation in order that those individuals can be held accountable for their decisions. Agent Terry died as a hero protecting this country; he and his family rightly deserve a full and thorough explanation of how Operation Fast and Furious came to be."
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