Slain Border Patrol Agent's Family Seeks $25 Million From Gov't.

February 01, 2012

The family of a Border Patrol agent murdered in Arizona has filed a $25 million claim against the U.S., specifically against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Brian Terry's family filed the claim Wednesday. It states that two of the guns found at the scene of the December 2010 shooting were traced back to a Phoenix gun store that sold the guns to Jaime Avila, who bought the guns for a Mexican drug cartel.

According to the claim:

"ATF had previously observed Avila make multiple illegal straw purchases of weapons and knew that Avila was illegally and fraudulently purchasing firearms as part of a criminal conspiracy to traffic drugs and commit acts of violence in both the United States and Mexico. But rather than intercepting the firearms and arresting Avila, ATF allowed him to deliver the guns to the Mexican gun cartels."

Photo courtesy U.S. Border Patrol.
Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The claim argues this was not an isolated incident but rather part of a larger scheme known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Such claims are required precursors to filing a lawsuit in civil court against the government.

The family filed a separate lawsuit against Lone Wolf Trading Company, the Glendale, Ariz., based gun store that sold the guns that Avila is accused of purchasing, according to court records.

Lawyers for the government and the gun store did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

Fronteras Desk will be updating this story as more details become available.