Family members of an Arizona U.S. Border Patrol agent killed in connection with a botched gun-smuggling operation said they won’t have closure until someone is held accountable for his death.
Brian Terry’s mother, sisters and cousin from the Detroit area are in Tucson this week for a dinner to raise money for a foundation set up in his honor. They also plan to be on hand Tuesday at Naco on the Mexico border when the Border Patrol station there is renamed after him.
Operation Fast and Furious, the gun-smuggling effort, was launched in 2009 to catch trafficking kingpins, but federal agents lost track of about 1,400 of the more than 2,000 weapons — including AK-47s and other high-powered assault rifles.
Some of the guns purchased illegally with the government’s knowledge were later found at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including in December 2010 at the southern Arizona site where Terry was killed.
“Brian was engaged in a firefight with armed individuals 18 miles inside the U.S. border. And these individuals were hardened Mexican drug trafficking organization individuals. They were armed to the teeth and, for me, that was a wakeup call that we have a major problem with armed incursions by organized drug trafficking organizations inside the United States,” Terry’s cousin and chairman of the foundation, Robert Heyer, said Sunday.
The Republican-run House wants a federal court to enforce a subpoena against Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding that he produce records on Operation Fast and Furious.
The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is scheduled to appear Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to undergo questioning about his findings regarding Operation Fast and Furious.
The IG’s office has not said whether it will issue its report before the hearing.