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Border & Immigration

FBI: Confessed Killer Of Border Patrol Agent Is Lying

The FBI said Friday morning the man who allegedly confessed to the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in a broadcast interview lied to garner attention.

Manuel Johnson, spokesman for the FBI in Phoenix, responded to questions about the veracity of the nationally broadcast story. He said the FBI in San Antonio interviewed Gustavo Cruz-Lozano on Thursday.

Cruz-Lozano had appeared on an episode of Univisíon’s television magazine, Primer Impacto, saying he had murdered Terry. Univisíon interviewed Cruz-Lozano in Monterrey, Mexico, obscuring his face for “security reasons.’


Cruz-Lozano’s story had been suspect since it was aired. Cruz-Lozano said he had traveled with others carrying a load of drugs when they encountered Border Patrol agents near Nogales, Ariz., in December 2010. However, an FBI warrant detailing the murder shows no drugs were ever found at the crime scene.

Terry was an agent of an elite Border Patrol tactical team, BORTAC. Two of the guns found at the crime scene were actually purchased in Phoenix by strawbuyers who were being tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That resulted in uncovering a scandal, a government-sanctioned gunwalking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Two men, Rito Osorio-Arellanes and Manuel Osorio-Arellanes are in custody in the United States. Rito is held on a conspiracy charge, and he was arrested two nights before Terry’s murder. Manuel pleaded guilty to murder in October though he maintained he did not pull the trigger.

Lionel Portillo-Meza was arrested by Mexican authorities in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, and is awaiting extradition. Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza and Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes were indicted by the United States but remain fugitives.

The FBI’s Johnson said Cruz-Lozano remains in custody on unrelated charges in Texas.


Last Wednesday, Cruz-Lozano traveled on a bus up from Monterrey to the Texas border and surrendered to U.S. authorities on two warrants for making terroristic threats against Hidalgo County, Texas, Sheriff Lupe Treviño.

Fronteras Desk coverage of the Arizona gunwalking scandal.

Last July, according to the McAllen Monitor, Cruz-Lozano called the sheriff’s office identifying himself as a Mexican police officer, Genaro Garza, and threatened the life of the sheriff.

Treviño said at the time that Cruz-Lozano had a history of making death threats against law enforcement.

When Cruz-Lozano surrendered at the port of entry Wednesday, he had what appeared to be stab wounds in the neck. He said he’d been attacked in Reynosa, Mexico. Treviño told KRGV Television the wounds appeared to be self-inflicted.

The sheriff called him mentally unstable.

“I don’t know why he took an interest in me,” Treviño told The Monitor. “Obviously he didn’t vote for me.”

Primer Impacto has not responded to questions about its report. The initial story remains on the magazine's website with the headline, "Hitman Killed Border Patrol agent" in Spanish.