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Arrest Made In Brian Terry Murder Case

Mexican federal security police

Jesús Leonel Sánchez Meza

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Mexican federal police captured one of the four fugitives wanted for the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. He was captured in the border beach town of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

The FBI has identified him as Lionel Portillo-Meza. Mexican authorities say that was an alias and report his name as Jesús Leonel Sánchez Meza.

Sánchez is in Mexican custody pending extradition to the U.S.

He is one of five men charged with the murder of Terry in December 2010. The group had been working as bandits in the hills of the Southern Arizona border region when Terry’s unit encountered them. Terry was shot one time and died at the scene. One man was arrested and a sixth man had been arrested days before and is being held on robbery charges.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy has said they’ve tried to capture the four remaining fugitives and were nearly successful twice in this past year. The FBI only went public with the names in July, offering $250,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of any one suspect.

The killing reached a point of notoriety in the U.S. when Congressional leaders discovered that two of the guns found at the crime scene were purchased at a Phoenix-area gunstore during a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms gunwalking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Mexico has not said whether its information for the arrests came from U.S. law enforcement.

Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, 31; Ivan Soto-Barraza, 34; Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, 34, remain at large.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.