PHOENIX

Guilty plea in killing

A Mexican man pleaded guilty Tuesday in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose death revealed the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation, marking the biggest conviction to date in a case that embarrassed the federal government and prompted a series of congressional investigations. In his guilty plea, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes admitted that he was part of a rip-off crew that sneaked into the United States from Mexico about a week before the death of Agent Brian Terry.

PASADENA, Calif.

Martian soil tested

Scientists say the Martian soil at the rover Curiosity’s landing site contains minerals similar to what’s found on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano. The finding released Tuesday is the latest step in trying to better understand whether the environment could have been hospitable to microbial life. Curiosity recently ingested its first soil sample and used one of its instruments to tease out the minerals present.

SANTA TERESA, N.M.

200 people sickened

An unknown hazardous material sickened about 200 people Tuesday just northwest of El Paso, Texas, as some workers in the industrial area where the substance was released described feeling a burning sensation on their skin, according to New Mexico authorities. A mile area was evacuated for a few hours and the county airport was closed. No serious injuries were reported and no one was hospitalized.

IRVINE, Calif.

Memorial sign for fish

Animal activists want a California roadside memorial sign to honor fish killed during a container truck crash. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals volunteer Dina Kourda told Irvine’s street maintenance chief the sign would remind drivers that fish value their lives and feel pain. About 1,600 pounds of saltwater bass died on Oct. 11 when the truck hauling them to market got into a three-way crash. Kourda’s letter acknowledges roadside memorials traditionally honor humans, but she hopes an exception will be made.

Compiled from wire reports.