Two members of a group involved in a shootout that ended Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s life were found guilty of murder by a Tucson federal court.
Ivan Soto-Barraza, 37, and Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, 27, were found guilty of first-degree murder this week though both deny firing their weapons. They now face a mandatory life sentence for first-degree murder charges alone.
In addition to first-degree murder, the were also found guilty of second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and four counts of assault against a federal officer.
“With these convictions, we have taken another important step towards securing justice for Agent Brian Terry,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “Today’s verdict is the result of years of tireless effort from dozens of dedicated law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and investigators committed to ensuring that the murder of their friend and colleague does not go unpunished.”
She added that the Justice Department will continue to work toward prosecuting and arresting other suspects involved in the incident.
Two other suspects, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes and Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges. Two additional suspects involved in the shootout, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, are still at large.
The incident occurred southwest of Rio Rico, Arizona, about 11 miles from the Mexican border, on Dec. 14, 2010. Terry was shot in the back during the exchange of gunfire and ultimately bled to death. The guns used by the suspects were later found to be tied to the controversial “Fast and Furious” scandal, although discussion of the scandal during the trial was prohibited.