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Trial For Men Accused of Murdering Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry Begins in Tucson

The trial for Mexican nationals Ivan Soto Barraza and Lionel Portillo-Meza, who are accused of murdering Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010, is underway in Tucson this week. Jurors in the case heard emotional opening statements Wednesday.

A former Border Patrol agent broke down in tears Wednesday as he described desperately trying to save the life of his colleague from Michigan who was shot during a firefight that exposed the bungled federal gun operation known as Fast and Furious.

Castano became emotional in federal court in Tucson as he walked the jury through the night of Dec. 14, 2010, when he, Terry and two other agents were patrolling an area where gangs known as rip crews were known to target marijuana smugglers.

The agents yelled “policia” after noticing the weapon-toting crew, Castano said. They later fired rounds from a beanbag guns at the smugglers, and a firefight ensued. Terry was hit in the back. Castano cut open Terry’s shirt to locate the wound, using a flashlight to guide him.

Late last week Federal Judge U.S. District Court Judge David Bury, who is residing over the case, ruled that Operation Fast and Furious cannot be brought up during the trial because it has "no bearing on the crime committed." As a reminder, Operation Fast and Furious is at the center of Terry's death because the men who are charged with killing him used AK-47s sold through the Justice Department program.


Rosario Rafael Burboa-Alvarez, who was also charged with Terry's murder, accepted a plea deal in August and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. In total, there were five men who were part of the rip crew that is being held responsible for Terry's death.

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