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september 07, 2012 • 11:05 PM • last update 11:32 PM

Mexico detains man accused in "Fast and Furious" gun-running killing

Mexican police detained a man accused of fatally shooting a U.S. Border Patrol agent almost two years ago in Arizona in a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled across the border, the government said Friday.

Federal police detained Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza on Thursday in Sonora state, which borders Arizona, where agent Brian Terry was shot dead in December 2010, the Public Security Ministry said. The Mexican Attorney General's Office plans to extradite Sanchez Meza to the United States, the ministry said in a statement.

Two guns found at the scene were traced to a botched U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sting operation called "Fast and Furious" that allowed weapons to slip across the border. It was not clear, however, if those weapons fired the fatal shots.

Four others have been accused in the shooting, the ministry said. Officials did not say if they were also being detained.

Republicans have criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's administration for allowing the Fast and Furious program, which led to some calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign.

In June, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives found Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, in contempt for withholding documents related to the failed gun-running probe.

Early this year Terry's family filed a $25 million wrongful-death claim against the U.S. government, saying he was killed because federal investigators allowed guns to fall into the hands of violent criminals.

The FBI has offered $250,000 for information leading to the capture of Terry's killer.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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