CREATED Jul 9, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An international manhunt was made public Monday, as federal investigators named four men wanted in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. They want to catch the fugitives, but officials believe they probably aren’t in the country. How can they expect to track the four down in Mexico?
One step, taken at the news conference in Tucson Monday, involved U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy asking for help from the American and Mexican public.
She, along with representatives from the FBI and Customs and Border Protection, unveiled wanted posters in English and in Spanish. The posters advertise a $1 million dollar reward for information leading to the location and the arrest of the four men, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga and Lionel Portillo-Meza.
Monday's media event was actually two news conferences: one in English and one for Mexican media, including radio and TV outlets that have already broadcast the men's names.
Investigators are also publicly relying on law enforcement south of the border--something Sheriff Tony Estrada does regularly in Santa Cruz County.
“They're very effective and very efficient,” Sheriff Estrada told KGUN9 News. “If they know that there's somebody there, they'll find them. They'll do their best to do that.”
KGUN9 reporter Kevin Keen asked him, “I'd imagine there are times when you get contacted from the other side.” “Definitely,” the sheriff replied. “That'll happen when they're looking for somebody, they'll contact us.”
Estrada is not involved with the FBI investigation, although Agent Terry's murder happened in his county. He said local, state and federal officers in Mexico could look for the four men and any information leading to them.
Estrada said those officers already feel a connection to this case: “I believe that when there is a law enforcement officer that is killed or is murdered on this side, the authorities on the Mexican side will do everything they can to make sure they help out," he said.
The U.S. Marshals Service is in charge of these kinds of federal fugitive cases. KGUN9 asked the Tucson office what searches like this one generally entail. The office referred KGUN9 to a person higher up in the agency, who didn’t respond to our request.
Investigators wouldn’t say Monday where in Mexico the four fugitives are. FBI Special Agent in Charge James Turgal told reporters giving out that information would jeopardize the case and give the fugitives an advantage.
“To provide information about ongoing operations gives the bad guys an idea of how we're looking, where we're looking and the techniques that were used in looking for fugitives,” Turgal said.
The FBI wanted posters ask anyone with information to call the Phoenix office at 623-466-1999, your local FBI office or the nearest American embassy or consulate.