Updated at 4:51 p.m. EST on Monday, February 10
A Mexican man was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for his role in a shootout that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent and shed light on the notorious “Fast and Furious” sting operation that left 1,400 illegal guns unaccounted for.
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, who was wounded in the December 2010 border shootout, had already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, and was given the full 30 years in prison prosecutors sought for his involvement in the death of U.S. agent Brad Terry, reports the Associated Press.
The shootout occurred on Dec. 14, 2010 when a group of Mexican men crossed the Arizona border to rob marijuana smugglers. Osorio-Arellanes was among them. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives waited on a hill and cornered them, triggering a gun battle that left Terry dead in a canyon near the city of Nogales.
Firearms used in the shootout were traced back to the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” sting operation, in which agents allowed suspected gun smugglers to purchase weapons so that they could be tracked back to Mexican drug cartels. Agents lost track of more than 1,400 of the 2,000 guns smugglers were allowed to purchase. Two of the lost guns were recovered at the scene of Terry’s death, but authorities have not definitively linked the two guns from the crime scene to the bullet that killed Terry.
The botched Fast and Furious operation led to the resignation of acting ATF director Kenneth E. Melson in 2011, and sparked a long-running congressional investigation. President Barack Obama was heavily criticized in 2012 after invoking executive privilege to withhold documents on the operation that were sought by Congress.
Monday’s sentencing is unlikely to address some of the remaining questions in the handling of the operation, and several other suspects in the shooting are still at large.
Prosecutors say that Osorio-Arellanes was not the gunman who killed Terry, but he is still subject to murder charges for his voluntary participation in the attempted robbery that resulted in the deadly shootout on the Mexican border.
This story has been updated with news that the Osorio-Arellanes was sentenced to 30 years in prison.