Second suspect charged in Brian Terry killing
A man allegedly involved in the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry north of Nogales was charged in U.S. District Court in Tucson on Friday, after being extradited from Mexico the day before.
Ivan Soto-Barraza pleaded not guilty to charges of 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 and assault on a federal officer.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced his extradition late Thursday afternoon.
He is one of five defendants authorities say were involved in Terry's death during a firefight near Peck Canyon west of Rio Rico in December 2010.
“This marks another step forward in our aggressive pursuit of those responsible for the murder of Agent Brian Terry, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in press release. “We will never stop seeking justice against those who do harm to our best and bravest.”
The five men were suspected on being part of a "rip crew," when Terry and three other Border Patrol agents encountered the group.
One member of the rip crew, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, was wounded during the shootout and later arrested near the scene. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in February, after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the case.
A second man, Lionel Portillo-Meza was extradited to the United States and was arraigned at the federal court in Tucson on June 18, where he pleaded not guilty.
Both Soto-Barraza and Portillo-Meza are due back in court for a status conference on Aug. 8. The two men are being held without bond.
In addition to the murder of Terry, the indictment alleged that the defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza, and Timothy Keller, who were with Terry during the firefight.
The two other suspects, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga remain at large in Mexico. A $250,000 reward has been offered for the arrest of each.
Like the Portillo-Meza case, this case will be prosecuted in federal court in Tucson by attorneys from the Southern District of California.
The U.S. Attorney's Office of Arizona was recused because of fallout from the Fast and Furious gun smuggling investigation, which resulted in the resignation former U.S. attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke.
Two of the weapons involved in the Fast and Furious investigation were found at the scene of Terry's death.
“This extradition is another major development in the pursuit of justice for Agent Terry and his family,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “As we continue to make significant progress in this case, we are constantly motivated by the memory of Agent Terry and his sacrifice for our country.”