Man jailed for half a century for murder of border agent

A sentence of half a century in prison will purge the Sinaloan Jesús Rosario Favela Astorga, who was sentenced last Thursday, September 22 in a federal court for the murder of the Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, on December 14, 2010.

He pleaded guilty to the murder in April 2022. He is the seventh and last defendant to be sentenced in this case.

Favela Astorga admitted as part of his guilty plea and the evidence presented in two trials in this case in 2015 and 2019, established that he was one of several armed “bajadores” who had traveled from Mexico to the United States to hunt down marijuana smugglers to rob them. .

At the time, Agent Terry and other members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) were on extended deployment to the desert to stop such assailants.

On December 14, around midnight, Agent Terry’s team attempted to arrest the Favela Astorga group in a rural area north of Nogales, Arizona.

One of the “downloaders” fired at the officers, striking Terry in the back and severing his spinal cord and aorta. According to evidence presented at the previous trials, Officer Terry called out to a fellow officer, “Willie, I’m hurt! I can’t feel my legs.”

BORTAC agents, still under fire, attempted to save Agent Terry, but were unsuccessful.

Evidence from the trials established that the five assailants at the scene were armed with four AK-47 assault rifles and one AR-15 assault rifle and had food to last for days.

Favela Astorga and others fled back to Mexico, leaving behind Manuel Osorio Arellanes, who had been shot in the stomach by agents.

Osorio Arellanes was convicted and sentenced in 2014 to 30 years in prison after cooperating in the identification of other assailants who were at large.

Mexican authorities arrested Favela Astorga in October 2017 based on a provisional arrest warrant issued at the request of the United States, to be extradited in January 2020.

The other “bajadores” on the scene were Heraclio Osorio Arellanes, Iván Soto Barraza and Jesús Lionel Sánchez Meza. All three were arrested in Mexico years after the shooting.

Soto Barraza and Sánchez Meza were extradited to the United States in 2014, found guilty in a trial in December 2015, and sentenced to life in prison.

Heraclius was extradited to the United States in 2018, found guilty at trial in February 2019, and sentenced to life in prison.

In addition, Rosario Rafael Borboa Álvarez pleaded guilty to murder and, although he was not in the shooting, admitted that he recruited the members of the group in Mexico, for which he was sentenced to 324 months in prison.

Border Patrol agents had also arrested Rito Osorio Arellanes on immigration charges two days before the shooting, unaware that he was part of the robbery team. Osorio later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and was sentenced to 96 months in prison.

Agent Terry’s murder was investigated primarily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Border Patrol. The United States Marshals Service, the Mexican Navy, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, who helped with the apprehension and extradition of Favela Astorga.

The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California after the District of Arizona was challenged.


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