Federal Judge Orders Fast and Furious References Out of Brian Terry Murder Trial

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry
Photo: Brian Terry Foundation

A federal judge ruled that the failed Operation Fast and Furious program is not to be mentioned at all during the trial of two men accused of murdering U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The fact that the U.S. allowed Mexican cartels to purchase weapons and take them to Mexico has been ruled “irrelevant” by U.S. District Judge David Bury despite the fact that two of the weapons found at the scene of the 2010 shooting are reported to have come from Operation Fast and Furious.

On December 14, 2010, Agent Terry was in a hard to reach area called Mesquite Seep near the Arizona border with Mexico. He and his BORTAC team encountered five gunmen, who were part of a rip crew, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.

Rip crew is a term used to describe a group of gunmen who track cartel smugglers in order to steal their drug loads at gunpoint. When Terry and his team tried to apprehend the gunmen a shootout ensued resulting in Agent Terry’s death.

Fast and Furious is the name used for an operation by the U.S. Department of Justice where agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosive allowed close to 1,500 weapons to be purchased by cartel associates. The operation was supposed to allow the agents to track the weapons to top cartel bosses; however, the ATF ended up losing track of the firearms.

Various respected Mexican news outlets such as Proceso and El universal have in fact reported that Operation Fast and Furious, either by design, or by incompetence, allowed the powerful Sinaloa cartel to get their hands on more weapons.

Ivan Soto Barraza and Jesus Leonel Sanchez Mesa, two suspected members of the rip crew that is charged with the murder of Agent Terry are set to go to trial later this month where they face multiple charges in connection with the murder and could receive the death penalty.

In preparation for the trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion to limine where among other things they asked the judge to keep mentions of Fast and Furious out of the trial.

“Two firearms used by members the “rip crew” were recovered at the scene of Agent Terry’s murder,” the motion revealed. “A records check has revealed that both of those firearms were purchased in connection with the ATF’s controversial investigation dubbed “Fast and Furious.” Informing the jurors in this case of the connection between the firearms and the “Fast and Furious” investigation will serve no legitimate purpose because that connection is irrelevant to the charges against the defendants.”

Judge Bury granted the Government’s motion, but according to Michel Marizco from KVOA in Arizona, if the prosecution brings up the origin of the weapons, the defense can bring up the controversial operation.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the ringleader of the rip crew Rosario Rafael “El Pariente” Burboa Alvarez made a deal with the U.S. attorney’s Office where they dropped all the charges against him with the exception of one and he ended up receiving a 360 month prison sentence.

Breitbart Texas learned members of Brian Terry’s family have flown to Arizona to observe the trial.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.


Fast and Furious by ildefonso ortiz