A Mexican man charged in the slaying of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry today changed his plea to guilty, and he could now face life in prison.
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, who is from El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, an agreement with prosecutors that took the death penalty off the table.
Terry was killed in December 2010 near during a shootout near the U.S.-Mexican border with border patrol agents and a group of six men who were allegedly intending to rob marijuana smugglers in Southern Arizona, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star.
Terry’s death became a national story after two guns found at the scene of the shootout were linked to failed gun-walking operation Fast and Furious. Authorities have not said whether the weapon used to kill Terry was one of the guns linked to Fast and Furious.
Osorio-Arellanes was apprehended by authorities following the shooting. He told FBI investigators that he did not pull the trigger during the gunfight.
Four other men were charged in Terry’s murder, with one in custody and the other three on the run. This summer, the FBI offered a $1 million reward for help in locating the fugitives. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, headed by Laura Duffy, is prosecuting the case.
Fast and Furious was a gun-walking operation headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It aimed to track some-2,000 guns as they were smuggled over the border, intending to nab high-level drug cartel members. The operation backfired, however, and hundreds of guns went missing. Attorney General Eric Holder has since called the tactics “fatally flawed” and ordered the end of their use in any future investigations.