There have always been a couple of reasons why the Department of Justice has refused to release documents concerning the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. It is a tug-of-war between Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Attorney General Eric Holder that ended with President Obama invoking executive privilege and the House of Representatives citing the AG for contempt. The first reason was the probability that the e-mails that Holder refused to turn over were internal communications that threw around speculations or disparaged members of the House or were filled with the stupid nonsense people e-mail each other. The second was the possibility that the e-mails and communications dealt with the on-going investigation into Agent Terry’s death and the Department of Justice was not ready to release the information.
It was the second reason.
On Monday, the Department of Justice released the names of four suspects. There is one suspect in American custody, for a total of five men known to have participated in the firefight that killed Agent Terry. There are 11 people in prison, having pleaded guilty to charges stemming from gun smuggling, including the straw purchaser who bought the guns for the smuggling ring. There are estimated to be another 9 people in the ring.
Terry, who had been a Marine and a Michigan police officer, was a member of a SWAT-type team that was sent to an area north of Nogales. There are two Nogaleses – straddling the border. There isn’t an awful lot besides desert and mountains between Nogales and Tucson. Terry’s unit walked into an ambush. Manuel Osorio-Arellanes of El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico, was shot during the skirmish and has told investigators that he did not fire his weapon and did not kill Agent Terry. Guns were recovered at the scene and were traced to the weapons that ATF was tracking through Fast and Furious.
Federal prosecutor Laura Duffy, told the press, “We believe it’s in the best interest of this ongoing investigation to unseal the case at this point in time and to enlist the assistance of the general publics in both Mexico and the United States.” Though the ATF has been accused by the right wing media and the Republican members of the Oversight Committee of “losing track” of the weapons they were supposed to be tracking, retire ATF supervisor William Newell said (in an interview with MBC’s Mike Isikoff June 29) that they didn’t lose track of them, they could not intercept and seize the weapons or arrest the straw purchasers because no laws were being broken in Arizona.
The press conference in Tucson disclosed the names Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, 31, Ivan Soto-Barraza, 34, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, 34, and Lionell Portillo-Meza. No age was available for Portillo-Meza. The other three are known to have been born in Mexico, but their current hometowns are unknown.
The Department of Justice is offering a million dollar reward for information leading to the apprehension of these men.