Minutemen Report
On Jailing of Border Patrol Agents - and setting drug runners free   Page 1

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-- Author of DHS border-agent report lied to Congress (2/9/2007) 
-- Border-agent investigator had tie to smuggler (2/9/2007)
-- Imprisoned border agent did report shooting (2/7/2007)
-- Government admits lying about jailed border agents (2/6/2007)
-- Border Patrol agent beaten up in prison (2/5/2007)
-- Prosecutor had evidence against drug smuggler (2/2/2007)
-- Homeland Security memos contradict U.S. Prosecuting attorney (1/31/2007)

-- Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison (10/20/2006)
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Johnny Sutton
Idiot prosecutor

 Author of DHS border-agent report lied to Congress 

Senate Democrats give Feinstein OK to hold hearing on Ramos-Compean

Posted: February 8, 2007     By Jerome R. Corsi     © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

 A heavily redacted Department of Homeland Security report on the prosecutions of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean was issued by Assistant Inspector General Elizabeth M. Redman, one of four investigators called upon to resign for lying to Congress.

The 77-page report – which Redman issued with her signature in November – was released to the public yesterday on the heels of DHS Inspector General Robert Skinner's admission at a hearing that his deputies falsely told lawmakers the agency had documentary proof the border agents were rogue cops "out to shoot Mexicans."

Yesterday, Culberson called for Redman and the three other officials to resign.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has received permission from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to hold a hearing on the case.   "I strongly believe that the sentences in this case are too extreme, given the criminal nature of the defendant and his possession of large quantities of drugs," Feinstein said in a statement. "These men were given sentences that some individuals who are convicted of murder wouldn't receive."

Also on Capitol Hill yesterday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., issued a stern warning to President Bush following the report that Ramos was beaten by prison inmates Saturday: "I tell you, Mr. President, if these men – especially after this assault – are murdered in prison, if one of them lose their lives, there's going to be some sort of impeachment talk in Capitol Hill."

The DHS investigator's report was released yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. As WND reported, Poe had become increasingly frustrated with DHS, accusing the agency of stonewalling the handover to Congress of investigative reports promised more than four months ago.  The controversy dates back to a Sept. 26 meeting Redman and three other DHS investigators had with Poe, Culberson and two other Republican members of the Texas delegation, Reps. Michael McCaul and Kenny Merchant.

Skinner testified under oath Tuesday before the Subcommittee on Homeland Security of the House Appropriations Committee his investigators "misrepresented" to the Texas delegation that Ramos and Compean said they wanted "to shoot some Mexicans" the day of Feb. 17, 2005, incident in which a drug smuggler escaped across the border after a confrontation with the agents.

In a telephone interview today, WND asked Poe if he agreed that Redman should resign.  "There has to be some kind of consequence for misleading members of Congress in this investigation," he replied. "This was not a statement that the pickup was green when it turned out to be blue."   Poe emphasized the "misleading information went to the crux of the government's case that there was some kind of a so-called 'conspiracy' among these two Border Patrol agents to go out that day and shoot some foreign nationals."  "That was a total fabrication," he said. 

Poe said that if the Justice Department does not look into the DHS misrepresentations, then "Congress will just have to weigh in on its options."   Poe contended the "whole government case against Ramos and Compean was based on the statements of a drug dealer who was given back-room deals with the federal government."

A former prosecutor and judge, Poe added: "Unfortunately I have found in my experience that when somebody starts making deals with criminal witnesses, you tend to get the testimony you wanted to hear."  Poe expressed concern the government has run an intentionally prejudicial case against the former Border Patrol agents.  "Just based on the redacted report we got yesterday from DHS, the Department of Homeland Security seems to pick and choose what evidence it wants to believe out of the incident," he said.  Poe asked why the DHS did not, before Skinner's testimony under oath, inform Congress its investigators, including Redman, had insisted the reports contain evidence Ramos and Compean were rogue agents.

"I'm glad the inspector general was candid with members of Congress," Poe told WND. "Still, it would have been appropriate months ago if someone had come forward with the truth about the incident rather than having to wait until somebody got placed under oath and was forced to testify."   DHS released the report yesterday as a substantiation of the agents' prosecution, but the congressmen who have challenged the administration insist otherwise.

Tara Setmayer, a spokeswoman for Rohrabacher, told the AP the report "has just emboldened our position because there is nothing in there that indicates these agents were not justified in shooting this individual."  "This finally sheds some light on what these agents were thinking," she said, pointing to a written statement by Compean in which she said reflects he "clearly believed the drug smuggler had a weapon and feared for his life."

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 Border-agent investigator had tie to smuggler
Played major role in Ramos-Compean case but name blacked out in report


Posted: February 9, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

According to official documents in WND's possession, a Department of Homeland Security agent played a major role in managing the drug smuggler and conducting the field investigation in the incident that landed Border Patrol officers Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean in federal prison for more than a decade.

Yet, in the heavily redacted 77-page DHS report submitted to Congress Wednesday there is no explicit discussion of the role DHS Special Agent Christopher Sanchez played in the case.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, yesterday called for the resignation of four DHS investigators, including Assistant Inspector General Elizabeth Redman, after DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner testified under oath his deputies had lied to Congress about non-existent reports that were supposed to have established Ramos and Compean as rogue cops who wanted to "shoot some Mexicans."

WND has obtained a copy of the government-issued border pass given to Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, the drug smuggler granted immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean. The border pass allowed multiple entries to the U.S. and carried the signature and badge number of Sanchez.

The border pass appears to have been issued March 16, 2005, the day Sanchez brought Aldrete-Davila to William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, to have a bullet removed from his right thigh.

"Aldrete-Davila was issued what amounts to a 'Gold Elite' border pass," Andy Ramirez, chairman of the Friends of the Border Patrol, told WND. "With the stamp for multiple entries into the United States, Aldrete-Davila didn't have to run the back roads as a drug smuggler any more. He could tell his drug bosses in Mexico that he could drive their loads right through border crossing points without much worry."

WND previously reported Aldrete-Davila was implicated in a second drug bust in October 2005, subsequent to the Feb. 17, 2005 incident with Ramos and Compean in which he abandoned a 1989 Ford Econoline containing 743 pounds of marijuana driven across the border from Mexico.

"With that border pass, Aldrete-Davila had the green light," Ramirez told WND. "He might have been indicted if the vehicle he drove in October 2005 with 1,000 pounds of dope was identified back to a border-crossing photograph, but he probably never had to be arrested."

The prosecutor of Ramos and Compean, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, has told WND that Aldrete-Davila was never arrested a second time for a drug offense in October 2005, but Sutton has never denied the smuggler was indicted for such an offense.

Medical records obtained by WND clearly establish the bullet wounds suffered by Aldrete-Davila involved a lateral wound to the left buttocks, not a "shot in the back" as repeatedly claimed by Sutton.

The medical records document that March 16, 2005, Dr. Winston Marne removed a large bullet fragment from Aldrete-Davila's right thigh. The records indicate bullet fragments were found in Aldrete-Davila's pelvis but not removed. The path of the bullet is clearly described as entering in the left side of the left buttocks, traversing the groin area, and lodging in the right thigh.

The records also indicate reconstructive surgery was performed on Aldrete-Davila the same day at the army hospital. Damage to the urethra required a catheter to be inserted. Aldrete-Davila was placed under anesthetics for the operation and was heavily sedated for pain.

The drug smuggler was released from the army hospital the same day and given to the protective custody of Sanchez, who also took with him the bullet fragment removed from Aldrete-Davila's thigh.

WND has learned Aldrete-Davila spent the night of March 16, 2005, at the home of Sanchez.

"Christopher Sanchez shows up again with the shell fragments from Aldrete-Davila's body," Ramirez pointed out to WND. "Sanchez was evidently Aldrete-Davila's handler and from the looks of it, he did a good job. Taking that bullet home broke the chain of evidence. From there on, what good would a report be even if it established the bullet was fired from Ramos' gun?"

WND previously reported that the weapons identifications ballistics analysis performed by the Texas Department of Public Safety on the bullet fragment held by Sanchez did not match the bullet to the weapons fired Feb. 17, 2005 by Ramos or Compean.

March 16, 2005, was also the date "Osvaldo" Aldrete-Davila signed and accepted his offer of immunity from Sutton's office, supposedly signed before the medical operation was performed and the border pass issued. There is no time stamp noted on the immunity document nor mention of the location where the document was signed.

WND has previously reported Special Agent Sanchez’s role in learning about the identity of Aldrete-Davila from Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Wilcox, Arizona. Aldrete-Davila and Rene Sanchez grew up together in Mexico and the drug dealer’s identity was first discovered through these family connections.

WND repeatedly has noted many of the DHS investigative reports were filed by Sanchez, who appears to have played a major role in the DHS field investigation.

"There was no reason to have redacted Christopher Sanchez's name from the report," Ramirez told WND. "Sanchez was a DHS special agent. But everywhere you look, Sanchez shows up playing a role shepherding the drug dealer around and framing the evidence that ended up being used by Johnny Sutton to put Ramos and Compean in prison for 11 and 12 years respectively."
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 Government admits lying about jailed border agents
Inspector confronted on Capitol Hill, says promised 'proof' does not exist

February 6, 2007    By Jerome R. Corsi    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

A Department of Homeland Security official admitted today the agency misled Congress when it contended it possessed investigative reports proving Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean confessed guilt and declared they "wanted to shoot some Mexicans" prior to the incident that led to their imprisonment.

The admission came during the testimony of DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, according to Michael Green, press secretary for Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas.

Culberson was questioning Skinner about a meeting DHS officials had Sept. 26 with him and three other Republican congressman from Texas, Reps. Ted Poe, Michael McCaul and Kenny Marchant.

WND previously reported that at that meeting the DHS Inspector General's office asserted it had documentary evidence Ramos and Compean:

confessed to knowingly shooting at an unarmed suspect;

stated during the interrogation they did not believe the suspect was a threat to them at the time of the shooting;

stated that day they "wanted to shoot a Mexican";

were belligerent to investigators;

destroyed evidence and lied to investigators.

Under questioning by Culberson, Skinner admitted DHS did not in fact have investigative reports to back up the claims: "The person who told you that misinformed you," Skinner reportedly replied.

This prompted a startled and angry response from the congressman.

"You lied to me and you lied to all of us," Culberson charged. "Your office tried to paint a picture of Ramos and Compean as dirty cops, and now you come before this committee and tell us you never had the information to back up those claims."

Ramos and Compean began prison sentences last month after their actions in the shooting of a drug smuggler who was granted immunity to testify against them.

Responding to Skinner's testimony yesterday, Poe said it "explains why DHS has been stonewalling Congress."

"DHS didn't turn over the reports to us to back up their September 26 accusations for one simple reason – the reports never existed," the Texas congressman said.

"Why did it take DHS four months to admit their error?" he asked. "I wonder how much more has DHS told the public and Congress about Ramos and Compean that simply isn't true?"

Poe said he's determined to get to the bottom of DHS's claim.

"I expect this new revelation will lead to a lot more questions before we're done," he said.

Andy Ramirez, who has been involved with the case as chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol, told WND the DHS's actions "represent obstruction of justice, and they should be held in contempt of Congress, and, if possible, prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

"This admission today is yet more proof of how they are willing to distort the facts, as I have charged all along, in order to ensure a conviction," he said.
 

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 Imprisoned border agent did report shooting
DHS memo shows Compean spoke to supervisor immediately after incident

February 7, 2007    By Jerome R. Corsi    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

WND has obtained a Department of Homeland Security memo indicating Border Patrol agent Jose Compean made a complete, in-person verbal report to his supervisor at the scene immediately following the shooting incident for which he and colleague Ignacio Ramos are now in prison.

The May 15, 2005, report filed by DHS Special Agent Christopher Sanchez documents a conversation between Compean and his supervisor that explains the decision by all nine Border Patrol agents and supervisors on the scene not to file written reports.

As reported by WND yesterday, a DHS memo filed by Sanchez April 12, 2005, shows seven agents and two supervisors were present at the Feb. 17, 2005 incident also decided not to file written reports.

The April 12, 2005, DHS memo stated that all the agents present at the incident were equally guilty for not filing a written report.

These memos directly contradict the repeated statements of the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, that agents Ramos and Compean filed false reports about the incident.

As far as WND can determine, no written reports were filed by any of the Border Patrol agents or supervisors on the field.

Moreover, the record of the May 15, 2005, memo indicates Compean was truthful in reporting verbally to the most senior supervisor present at the incident.

Sanchez's memo of May 15, 2005, is a transcript of a hearing held by Compean with El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Louis Barker. The hearing was held at Compean's request in order to protest his proposed indefinite suspension resulting from his March 18, 2005, arrest on criminal charges.

The first part of the hearing was held April 7, 2005, before Compean's April 13, 2005, indictment. The second recording from the hearing is dated April 28, 2005.

At the administrative hearing, Compean was accompanied by union representative Robert Russell, a vice president of Local 1929, the El Paso branch of the National Border Patrol Council.

In the opening statement transcribed from the April 7, 2005, audio cassette, Russell makes Barker aware that Compean had made a complete report on the scene to Jonathan Richards, the more senior of the two supervisors who present at the incident.

Russell's testimony references a wound Compean suffered on his hand, a gash between the thumb and index finger, which he suffered when scuffling in the ditch with the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, who had abandoned his vehicle and was attempting to escape back to Mexico on foot. Russell points to this wound as evidence of aggravated assault committed on Compean by the drug smuggler.

Here is Russell's recorded testimony:

Well, I mean, the base … the basis of this is basically … ummm … Mr. Compean … an assault took place that day against one of our agents, and he did defend himself, and the part of the assault is never mentioned in the complaint or anywhere by OIG (Office of Inspector General) that they know clearly how this did take place.

A few sentences later, Russell again references that what transpired at the scene was observed by the agents and supervisors in the field and subsequently fully known to the Border Patrol management at the station in Fabens, Texas.

Russell indicates that management at Fabens themselves chose not to make a report about Compean's injury. Here is his testimony:

Even management at the station in Fabens was fully aware of what had transpired and for whatever reason nothing was ever generated … and once all this comes forward, I mean, it's my belief even his attorneys' belief that even once that does come forward and all that information is presented that the charges will possibly be dropped … or dismissed … or he will be found not guilty … based on that … what did transpire.

Directly contradicting prosecutor Sutton's assertion that agents Ramos and Compean filed false reports, the April 2005 administrative hearing reveals Compean was forthcoming concerning the events of the incident.

In the second cassette, Russell makes clear that the reluctance to do more formal reporting after the incident came from supervisor Richards.

But the fact of the matter is an assault did take place. Umm … Mr. Richards did know about it.

Umm … whether Mr. Compean … Mr. Compean said yes sir to this or whether he was assaulted or not … doesn't negate Mr. Richards responsibility to take some action from the facts that were presented to him as to what happened out there.

He was on the scene. He was told by another agent exactly what had happened and it pretty much apparently stopped at that point.

Russell argues Richards did not want to go through the trouble of filing written paperwork. So rather than press the hand injury, which Compean felt was minor, Compean gave in to Richards' pressure to forget about the hand injury, obviating the only issue the supervisor felt might be needed to document in writing.

Station Chief Barker asked Compean why he didn't report the shooting.  Compean admitted that possibly a written report should have been filed, but he and the other Border Patrol on the scene considered the incident inconsequential.

Compean testified:

As …As I stated to … umm … to this earlier … I didn't … I just … I know it was wrong for us not to reported it and I … if I would have thought that he had been hit or anything like that had happened I would have … I didn't … I just … I knew we were going to get in trouble because the way … the way it's been at the station the last two … three years … uhh … I mean everything always comes down to the alien.  The agents are as soon as anything comes up … it is always … always the agent's fault.  The agents have always been cleared but, with management, it's always been the agent's fault.  We're the ones that get in trouble.

Compean continued to note that Aldrete-Davila escaped, and none of the agents in the field thought he had been hit.  All the agents and supervisors in the field knew there had been a shooting and none of the agents or supervisors filed any written reports. There was no "cover-up" of anything that happened that day in the field, the documentation indicates. The only defect was failure by all to file a written report, including the two supervisors present.

Compean emphasized that the failure to report the incident was considered minor given the outcome:

 

He (Aldrete-Davila) was already gone back south. I … really didn't … didn't think he had been hit. The way I saw him walking back south he looked … he looked fine to us and we just didn't … nothing was ever said as … as to don't say anything keep your mouth shut nothing like that was ever … was ever brought up either. We just … we just didn't bring it up.

Compean's testimony emphasized supervisor Richards pressured him not to file a written report:

 

When we got back to the station it was the same thing he asked me and the way … the way I … the way he … he asked me ... he made it seemed like he wanted me to say no and that's why I said it.

By denying he had been injured, Compean made it possible for Richards to avoid the trouble of filing a written report on the incident.

The issue about filing a written report, according to Compean's testimony, turned on his willingness not to mention the assault. The decision not to file a written report did not turn on wanting to hide the fact that shooting had taken place.

Moreover, Richards was well aware Compean had been injured in a scuffling match with Aldrete-Davila on the levee, when he wrestled the drug smuggler down. Compean did not even realize his hand had been cut until Richards pointed it out to him at the levee.

The Customs and Border Patrol manual mentions that the penalty for failure to report the discharge of a firearm or use of a weapon as required by the applicable firearms policy is a written reprimand, or at most a five-day suspension for the first offense. The manual makes no mention of the possibility of criminal punishment for failure to report the discharge of a weapon.

In a last, more belligerent section of the hearing, Barker charges, "There was a shooting where somebody was shot and NOTHING WAS SAID!" The capital letters were in the original transcript, probably reflecting Barker's emphasis.

Russell responds, according to the transcript: "That was an administrative violation on his part by not reporting it to the agency, yes, but on the same part the agency failed to act when it knew that an agent had been assaulted."

Then, Russell himself shouts out, "EMPLOYEES SAW IT," pointing out seven Border Patrol agents besides Ramos and Compean, including two supervisors, were at the scene.

According to the transcript, the pressure on Compean not to file a written report came from Richards, the senior supervisor on the field.

Richards was applying pressure on Compean not to report the assault, because that would have demanded paperwork.

Moreover, according to the hearing transcript, there is no record Richards ever mentioned to Compean the need to file a written report on the shooting.
 
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 Border Patrol agent beaten up in prison
Ramos' family confirms: 'They kicked me in the head, they kicked me all over the body'
By Jerome R. Corsi    February 5, 2007    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Imprisoned Border Patrol agent Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos was severely beaten in prison, Ramos' family members have confirmed to WND.

Monica Ramos embraces her husband, former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy El Paso Times)

In interviews with WND tonight, both Ramos's wife Monica and father-in-law Joe Loya confirmed that Ramos says he was assaulted in prison on Saturday night by a group of five Hispanic inmates who Ramos took to be illegal immigrants.

In a phone call from prison, Ramos told his wife earlier today that the assailants allegedly threatened him in Spanish, taunting him with, "**** la migra," insulting him – "migra" roughly translating as "immigration," slang for Border Patrol agent.

The assault occurred at Yazoo City Federal Correctional Complex, a medium facility federal prison in Mississippi, where Ramos had been moved about 10 days ago.

Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean began prison sentences last month, of 11 and 12 years respectively, for their actions in the shooting and wounding of a Mexican drug smuggler who was granted full immunity to testify against them. The case has caused national outrage, and dozens of congressmen are publicly insisting President Bush grant an immediate pardon of the two law enforcement officers.

Ramos's family feels that the decision to place him in a medium security prison violates a promise from federal authorities Ramos would be kept in isolation at a minimal security prison.

At Yazoo, Ramos was housed with the general prison population. A medium security prison such as Yazoo would be expected to house illegal immigrants, including those incarcerated on drug offenses.

The prison attack came immediately after the airing Saturday night of a segment on Ramos and Compean by the "America's Most Wanted" television show.

"On Saturday night my husband said he went to bed," Monica Ramos told WND late today.

She recounted the telephone call from her husband in prison earlier in the day: "He just told me that he dropped his guard. 'They got me,' Nacio told me, 'they got me pretty good.'"

"'What happened?'" Monica Ramos said she asked her husband. "He told me they were in the television room watching 'America’s Most Wanted.' After that, some time after 10 p.m., he went back to his cubicle and was almost falling asleep. He awoke to the sound of shoes stomping. It startled him because at night the prisoners are supposed to take their shoes off and put flip-flops on."

She continued: "He said he didn't have a chance to turn around and look at any of the guys attacking him at that time. He just felt a blow to the back of his head. The prisoners were kicking him with steel-toe shoes, the work boots they are issued in prison. They kept kicking and kicking. And they kept calling him in Spanish a **** immigration officer, saying 'darle, darle,' which means, 'give it to him.' They were cussing him out in Spanish. He couldn't fight back he was outnumbered."

According to Loya, Ramos also said of the attack: "They kicked me in the head, they kicked me all over the body. I'm all bruised and very sore."

How did the attack stop?

"No security came to his rescue," the jailed Border Patrol agent's wife told WND. "Another inmate came and got Ramos and said 'Hey, dude, let me help you up.' The other inmate walked my husband over to security."

Did the prison give him any medical treatment?

"As of the time we talked this afternoon, the prison still hadn't given him any medical treatment," she said, adding that he told her, "'I asked all day yesterday.' I’m in a lot of pain and I have blood coming out of my left ear.'

"His head and his back are hurting him badly. He said it was almost time for the prison doctor to go for the day and he wasn't sure when any doctor would be able to see him."

Ramos told his wife he was able to identify only one of the five assailants: "They all cursed me in Spanish," he said, according to Loya. "As they were beating me up and kicking me, they kept calling me 'migra,' 'migra.' I'm pretty sure they were all illegal immigrants."

Ramos told his wife that he was badly bruised and bleeding from the ears. He said that immediately after the attack, he was placed back into solitary confinement, where he has been for the last two days.

"He told me that he asked to call me Sunday, after the attack," Monica Ramos continued, "but the prison wouldn't let him call me and they wouldn't let him call his attorney. He said the only reason the prison was letting him call now, on Monday, was because the Congress intervened, otherwise he wouldn't have been permitted any calls at all."

Patti Compean, wife of imprisoned agent Jose Compean, told WND her husband was in a different prison, still in solitary confinement.

Today is Ramos' 38th birthday. According to Loya, Ramos's three sons, aged 7, 9 and 13, woke up crying, not wanting to go to school. The children wanted to buy a cake and wait for their father to call so they could sing "Happy Birthday" to him on the phone and blow out the candles.

Early this morning, Loya began working with the office of U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R.-Calif., to see if the warden would give Ramos special permission to call home on his birthday, after his children got home from school.

However, the birthday call didn't happen, Monica Ramos told WND.

"We went out and bought a cake," she said. "The kids came home expecting their dad to call from prison so they could wish him a happy birthday. But there isn't going to be any call. My 7-year-old, when he woke up this morning, the first thing he asked was if we could still celebrate today. I told him, 'Sure we can, baby,' and he's been looking forward to it all day."

However, Monica added, in tears: "He told me, 'They're not going to let me call later today.' He said the call in the afternoon only happened because Congress allowed it to happen. He said he doesn't have any privileges in prison. He hasn't even gotten the mail that everybody has been sending him. He told me, 'You really need to get me out of here.' That's what he told me last."
 
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 Prosecutor had evidence against drug smuggler
Homeland Security memo shows fingerprints found on vehicle

February 2, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

A Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by WND indicates fingerprints were found on the vehicle abandoned by a Mexican drug smuggler who was given immunity to testify against border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, apparently contradicting the U.S. attorney's claim that he had no evidence to prosecute the smuggler.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton repeatedly has said there was no evidence at the scene on the Texas border near El Paso that would have permitted his office to investigate, find and prosecute Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, whose testimony against the officers led to prison terms of more than 10 years.

The DHS memo also documents that no fingerprint search was conducted on the vehicle until a full month after the Feb. 17, 2005, incident.  Despite repeated attempts, Sutton's office did not return WND phone calls to comment on this story.

Andy Ramirez, who has closely followed the case as chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol, said he was disturbed that evidence in the van was handled by a combination of local, sheriff and federal law enforcement officers.

"From the scene, the vehicle is towed to the El Paso sheriff's office," Ramirez noted. "Then, the Border Patrol turns over the fingerprints to the El Paso Police Department for processing. DHS is involved, but only to receive a copy of the videotape made of the fingerprint processing. These law enforcement procedures are highly irregular, especially in the emotionally charged areas of border security and drug enforcement."

From the beginning, Ramirez, insisted, "Johnny Sutton's only interest in this case was to prosecute Ramos and Compean."

"If Sutton wanted to capture the drug dealer, the van would have been secured, the van and its contents would have been dusted immediately for fingerprints and the chain of evidence would have been established," he said. "Instead, the van sat there in the El Paso sheriff's office for nearly a month before any law enforcement looks for evidence of the drug crime."

Ramirez wondered why the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Administration was not called in immediately on the case.

"Instead, when the prosecutors finally get around to looking for fingerprint evidence, who knows how corrupted the fingerprint evidence is going to be after a month?"

A frustrated Ramirez contended Sutton was not interested in evidence from the van, because he was never out to get the drug smuggler.

"Since the fingerprint evidence would not implicate the agents, Sutton couldn't have cared less if there was any fingerprint evidence or not," Ramirez said. "If the fingerprint evidence could have implicated Ramos and Compean, Sutton would have been after the fingerprints with a vengeance."

The DHS memorandum of activity was filed by Special Agent Jose L. Arredbado, March 20, 2005. The memo documents that March 17, 2005, special agent Arredbado received a copy of the vehicle towing receipt from the El Paso sheriff's office where the vehicle had been towed from the Fabens, Texas, Border Patrol Station.

The memo indicates that March 17, 2005, Arredbado authorized the U.S. Border Patrol Evidence Team to enter the compound and dust the vehicle for fingerprints. The team found 11 fingerprints, three of which were duplicates. The prints were taken to the El Paso Police Department for processing, with an agreement to turn the findings and report over to the DHS Office of Inspector General upon completion.

A towing receipt obtained by WND shows the vehicle Aldrete-Davila drove was a silver 1989 Ford Econoline with Texas plates that was taken to the Fabens, Texas, Border Patrol Station, Feb. 18, 2005, the day after the incident with Aldrete-Davila that has led to the imprisonment of Ramos and Compean.

The towing receipt indicates the Ford Econoline remained at the Alba Wrecker Service in El Paso for 18 days, until March 7, 2005. The DHS report indicates Alba transported the vehicle to the El Paso sheriff's vehicle compound March 10, 2005, a discrepancy with the March 7, 2005, date noted on the Alba towing receipt.

The towing receipt indicates the bill went to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Crossed out is an initial designation that indicates the bill was originally intended to go to the Border Patrol.

John Godinez, assistant to Mary Stillinger, the defense counsel for Ignacio Ramos, told WND his office was aware there were some fingerprints found on the van, but the defense had not pursued the issue. Mr. Godinez affirmed that during the Ramos-Compean trial, the prosecution did not introduce into evidence the fingerprints or any of the documentary evidence regarding the fingerprints. Proving that the van was driven by Aldrete-Davila was never in contention in the trial after the prosecution gave the drug smuggler immunity to testify.

In his Jan. 19 exclusive interview with WND, prosecutor Sutton strongly maintained there was nothing at the crime scene that would have permitted him to identify and pursue the fleeing Mexican drug smuggler.


WND: So, Aldrete-Davila ran away, and as you say, at the time you didn't have any basis to know who he was and there were no fingerprints. But yet, you found the guy. If you found the guy to give him immunity, why couldn't you have found the guy to punish him?
Sutton: The way we found him is that he came forward and was in Mexico with a lawyer. So, the only way to get him to testify was to give him immunity from being prosecuted. He wasn't going to agree to come to the United States, he wasn't going to agree to talk, unless he had some kind of immunity from being prosecuted for that load. So, that puts the prosecutor in the terrible choice of everyone goes free, we got no case against the dope dealer, we cannot make a case against the dope dealer because there's no evidence thanks to agents and other factors.

As we WND previously reported, Sutton stated a Mexican lawyer brought Aldrete-Davila forward, without revealing the drug smuggler's identity, until immunity had been granted. However, WND can find no documentation any such Mexican lawyer was involved.

DHS investigative memos make clear that Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez in Wilcox, Ariz., identified Aldrete-Davila only days after the Feb. 17, 2005 incident, obtaining his information through family connections. Sanchez grew up with Aldrete-Davila in Mexico.

The information about Aldrete-Davila's identity was then passed on by Sanchez to DHS special agent Christopher Sanchez, who went to Mexico and found Aldrete-Davila.

This Christopher Sanchez is the same DHS special agent the DHS memo on the fingerprints says received the videotape of the El Paso Police Department fingerprint search on the drug smuggler's abandoned vehicle.
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 Homeland Security memos contradict U.S. attorney
January 31, 2007     By Jerome R. Corsi     © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Memo also reveals smuggler's friends formed 'hunting party' targeting Ramos and Compean.   In the high-profile case of two U.S. Border Patrol officers imprisoned after shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler, two Department of Homeland Security documents apparently contradict the version of events put forth by the U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted the case.

The internal Department of Homeland Security memoranda – which have been denied Congress despite repeated requests by two House members – show that within one month of the shooting incident involving Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, government investigators had identified the smuggler as Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila.

But this seems to contradict U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's claim that Aldrete-Davila came forward through a Mexican lawyer who offered to identify his client in exchange for immunity.

A March 14, 2005, memo notes that Aldrete-Davila's mother had contacted the mother-in-law of a U.S. Border Patrol agent to talk about the shooting and a memo from four months later talks about an interview with that Border Patrol agent. Also, the immunity agreement offered to Aldrete-Davila promises no prosecution against him will result from his testimony and reveals that it was signed on March 15, 2005.

Andy Ramirez, chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol, says the documents raise questions as to why Sutton chose to prosecute the Border Patrol agents rather than the drug smuggler. Sutton defended his prosecution in an interview with WND.

He said he had no choice. "You have to understand that we could not turn our backs on this," he told WND. "Two Border Patrol officers shot 15 times at an unarmed man who was running away and posed no real threat." The Bush administration continues to argue on background that Ramos and Compean lied to Border Patrol officials and covered up evidence, asserting the drug smuggler was not armed and had attempted to surrender peacefully.

The documents further reveal Aldrete-Davila and his Mexican drug associates wanted to organize a "hunting party" to kill Border Patrol agents in retaliation for his being shot. The revelation raises the possibility Aldrete-Davila violated the terms of his immunity by concealing material information from the prosecutor and the jury at trial.

The documents – two of a number sought by Republican Reps. Michael McCaul and Ted Poe of Texas through a Freedom of Information Act request – corroborate the account previously given to WND by Ramirez.

"Johnny Sutton should be tried for malicious prosecution of agents Ramos and Compean," Ramirez insisted to WND in response to the documents. "These documents prove Sutton could have gone after Aldrete-Davila. Now it's clear that Sutton was out to get these agents, even if it meant accepting the lying word of an admitted Mexican drug smuggler to do so."

The first memo was signed by DHS special agent Christopher Sanchez March 14, 2005, about one month after the Feb. 17, 2005 incident in which Ramos and Compean fired on Aldrete-Davila as he abandoned a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana. Aldrete-Davila had abandoned the van and was fleeing on foot, running toward the Rio Grande, when the two agents fired, believing they had seen him point a weapon back at them while they were in pursuit.

The memo reports that on March 10, 2005, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez of the Wilcox Border Patrol in Arizona telephoned Special Agent Christopher Sanchez of the DHS Office of Inspector General in El Paso.

According to the memo, Rene Sanchez reported the following:

Rene Sanchez stated that Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila's mother, Marcadia Aldrete-Davila, contacted Rene Sanchez's mother-in-law, Gregoria Toquinto, and advised her about the Border Patrol Agent(s) shooting Aldrete-Davila. Toquinto told her son-in-law Rene Sanchez of the incident and he spoke to Osbaldo via a telephone call.

During the phone call, Aldrete-Davila gave Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez his version of the events of Feb. 17, 2005.

Osbaldo told Rene Sanchez that he was attempting to return to Mexico after a BP (Border Patrol) Agent caught him entering the United States illegally. Osbaldo told Rene Sanchez that the BP Agent that stopped him was a Hispanic male and that Osbaldo believed he could identify him because he would not forget the face of the BP Agent that shot at him and called him Mexicano mierda, which means "Mexican [S--t]." Osbaldo told Rene Sanchez that he heard five or six gunshots before he eventually was hit in the groin. Osbaldo told Rene Sanchez that he was shot on the United States side of the Rio Grande river.

Next, the DHS memo describes Aldrete-Davila's thoughts about going to the Mexican Consulate to report that he had been shot, a plan Aldrete-Davila rejected.

Rene Sanchez said that his mother-in-law Gregoria Toquinto went to Mexico to help her friend Marcadia take her son Osbaldo to the Mexican consulate to report the shooting incident. However, Osbaldo declined to go. Marcadia advised Toquinto that Osbaldo did not want to report the incident because he had actually been transporting a load of marijuana and was afraid the Mexican and/or U.S. authorities would put him in jail.

The memo next clearly reports on a revenge "hunting party" that Aldrete-Davila was contemplating:

Osbaldo had told Rene Sanchez that his friends had told him that they should put together a hunting party and go shoot some BP Agents in revenge for them shooting Osbaldo. Osbaldo advised Rene Sanchez that he told his friends that he was not interested in going after the BP Agents and getting in more trouble. Rene Sanchez stated that he believed the "friends" were most likely members of the drug trafficking organization that lost the load of marijuana Osbaldo was transporting.

The memo also confirms Rene Sanchez queried the Border Patrol Tracking System and found that the Border Patrol Station in Fabens, Texas, had seized a load of marijuana Feb.15, 2005. This information should have been sufficient to link Aldrete-Davila to the incident involving Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean.

A second DHS internal memo, dated July 18, 2005, a copy of which was also obtained by WND, indicates that an investigation was initiated on March 4, 2005, "upon receipt of information from the Office of Internal Audit (OIA), United States Border Patrol (BP), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), El Paso, Texas, alleging that Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican national, was shot by an unknown BP Agent while attempting to cross into the United States on February 17, 2005 near San Elizario, Texas, Aldrete-Davila advised that he fled back to Mexico where his wound was treated at a local hospital but the bullet was left in Aldrete-Davila's body."

The second DHS memo further reveals that on July 11, 2005, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), El Paso Field Office, spoke to Rene Sanchez concerning a telephone call Sanchez had made to Border Patrol Agent Nolan Blanchette, who was then temporarily assigned to the Fabens Border Patrol station.

The memo describes the telephone call:

Sanchez stated that he called Blanchette one or two days after he spoke to DHS OIG on March 5, 2005. Sanchez said he asked Blanchette if he knew anything about a shooting that occurred on February 17, 2005 involving a van loaded with dope in which Border Patrol agents shot at the driver. Sanchez said Blanchette told him he knew nothing about that shooting.

The phone call affirms that by March 5, 2005, Sanchez had tied together the information from Aldrete-Davila in Mexico and the data he had obtained from querying the Border Patrol Tracking System, information which led to an investigation being opened by DHS on March 4, 2005, according to the memo.

These memos contain no mention that Aldrete-Davila had retained any Mexican legal counsel or that any Mexican legal counsel contacted any U.S. government office offering to produce the perpetrator client in exchange for immunity to testify at trial.

WND also has obtained a copy of the letter of limited-use immunity offered to and accepted by Aldrete-Davila March 16, 2005, some 12 days after DHS opened an investigation into him. The immunity letter is signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brandy Gardes in the El Paso office of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton.

The second paragraph of the immunity letter specifies Aldrete-Davila agreed "to testify truthfully and completely at any Grand Jury hearing, court hearing, and/or trial when called by the Government as a witness. The third paragraph specifies Aldrete-Davila "must neither attempt to protect any person or entity, nor falsely implicate any person or entity."

Since the "hunting party" revenge plan was not disclosed to the Ramos-Compean jury, apparently either material facts were hidden from the jury or Aldrete-Davila violated the terms of his immunity grant by lying about his involvement in the case and concealing the identity of the "hunting party" members.

As far as WND can determine, the "hunting party" has never been reported by Sutton's office so U.S. law enforcement can undertake an investigation and possible prosecution.

Reliable sources also say that at trial, Aldrete-Davila claimed he did not have enough money to have the bullet removed in Mexico. The doctor's note from Mexico he provided at trial had no letterhead, official stamp, doctor's name or license to identify the physician and validate the information.

WND can find no indication U.S. government officials have any investigation currently on-going in Mexico or in the U.S. concerning Aldrete-Davila or any information regarding the identity of the person or persons Ramos and Compean observed waiting for Aldrete-Davila in a van on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River. The two agents reported Aldrete-Davila fled into the van, and the group sped away from the scene into Mexico.

Andy Ramirez also accuses Aldrete-Davila of committing perjury during the Ramos-Compean case.

"If we could get the trial transcripts," he told WND, "you would see material differences between these DHS investigative reports and the version of events Aldrete-Davila told the jury under oath."

As WND previously has reported, nearly two years after the conclusion of the trial, the transcript of the Ramos-Compean trial has yet to be produced by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Judge Kathleen Cardone's office has refused to answer WND questions regarding when the transcript might become available.

Ramirez says the documents validated the version of events he had given WND.

"These memos make it clear that Rene Sanchez figured out his lifelong friend Aldrete-Davila was the culprit," Ramirez said. "That information should have been enough for Sutton to have gone after the drug smuggler prosecution, if Sutton had wanted to do so."

"To cover his tracks," Ramirez asserted, "Sutton has continued lying, even now, after Ramos and Compean are in federal prison. Sutton has made up the whole story about a Mexican attorney calling the prosecutors to offer up the perpetrator in exchange for immunity. It never happened. What Sutton doesn't want to admit is that he never had any intention of prosecuting the drug smuggler once he realized he could get his hands on the drug smuggler to testify against Ramos and Compean."

WND asked Ramirez if he knew he was making a serious charge, in that malicious prosecution is a felony.

"I'm fully aware of that," Ramirez affirmed. "I also realize that I am making a serious charge against DHS. I believe DHS is still engaged in a criminal cover-up of material facts in the Ramos-Compean case. These documents are proof that materially relevant investigative reports were not made available to the jury and are not now being made available either to Congress or the U.S. public."

Ramirez also explained to WND that Rene Sanchez was the person who advised Aldrete-Davila he should seek immunity in exchange for his testimony.

Ramirez further identifies Rene Sanchez as the person who put Aldrete-Davila in touch with U.S. Attorney Walter Boyaki to represent Aldrete-Davila in what reportedly has become a $5 million lawsuit by the drug smuggler against the Border Patrol for allegedly violating his civil rights.
 
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 Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison
October 20, 2006    © 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were sentenced to prison terms of 11 years and 12 years for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks as he fled across the U.S. - Mexico border.

U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, sentenced Jose Alonso Compean to 12 years in prison and Ignacio Ramos to 11 years and one day despite a plea by their attorney for a new trial after three jurors said they were coerced into voting guilty in the case, the Washington Times reported.

As WorldNetDaily reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

On Feb. 17, he responded to a request for back up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso.

Ramos, who headed toward Fabens hoping to cut off the van, soon joined a third agent already in pursuit.

Behind the wheel of the van was an illegal alien, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila of Mexico. Unknown to the growing number of Border Patrol agents converging on Fabens, Aldrete-Davila's van was carrying 800 pounds of marijuana.

Unable to outrun Ramos and the third agent, Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on the levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler's attempt to get back to Mexico.

"We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn't stop, and he just kept running," Ramos told California's Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Aldrete-Davila crossed a canal.

"At some point during the time where I'm crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired," Ramos said. "Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler."

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

"I shot," Ramos said. "But I didn't think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn't look like he had been hit at all."

The commotion and multiple calls for back up had brought seven other agents – including two supervisors – to the crossing by this time. Compean picked up his shell casings, but Ramos did not. He also did not follow agency procedure and report that he had fired his weapon.

"The supervisors knew that shots were fired," Ramos told the paper. "Since nobody was injured or hurt, we didn't file the report. That's the only thing I would've done different."

Had he done that one thing differently, it's unlikely it would have mattered to prosecutors.

More than two weeks after the incident, Christopher Sanchez, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, received a call from a Border Patrol agent in Wilcox, Ariz. The agent's mother-in-law had received a call from Aldrete-Davila's mother in Mexico telling her that her son had been wounded in the buttocks in the shooting.

Sanchez followed up with a call of his own to the smuggler in Mexico.

In a move that still confuses Ramos and Compean, the U.S. government filed charges against them after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof told the court that the agents had violated an unarmed Aldrete-Davila's civil rights.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is a violation of someone's Fourth Amendment rights to shoot them in the back while fleeing if you don't know who they are and/or if you don't know they have a weapon," said Kanof.

Kanof dismissed Ramos' testimony that he had seen something shiny in the smuggler's hand, saying that the agent couldn't be sure it was a gun he had seen.

Further, Kanof argued, it was a violation of Border Patrol policy for agents to pursue fleeing suspects.

"Agents are not allowed to pursue. In order to exceed the speed limit, you have to get supervisor approval, and they did not," she told the Daily Bulletin.

Those shell casings Compean picked up were described to the jury as destroying the crime scene and their failure to file an incident report – punishable by a five-day suspension, according to Border Patrol regulations – an attempted cover up.

The Texas jury came back with a guilty verdict. Conviction for discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence has an automatic 10-year sentence. The other counts have varying punishments.

"How are we supposed to follow the Border Patrol strategy of apprehending terrorists or drug smugglers if we are not supposed to pursue fleeing people?" said Ramos, who noted that he only did on that day what he had done for the previous 10 years. "Everybody who's breaking the law flees from us. What are we supposed to do? Do they want us to catch them or not?"

He also noted that none of the other agents who had responded to the incident filed reports that shots were fired and, besides, both supervisors at the scene knew they had discharged their weapons.

"You need to tell a supervisor because you can't assume that a supervisor knows about it," Kanof countered. "You have to report any discharge of a firearm."

"This is the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen," said Andy Ramirez of the nonprofit group Friends of the Border Patrol. "This drug smuggler has fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you."

The El Paso Sheriff's Department increased its patrols around the Ramos home when the family received threats from people they believed were associated with Aldrete-Davila.
 

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