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On Jailing of Border Patrol Agents - and setting drug runners free - Page 2

 
-- 12 congressmen demand pardon for border agents (10/25/2006)
-- Drug smuggler left cell phone in van (2/10/2007)
-- Witnesses against Compean, Ramos to be fired for changing testimonies

-- Mexico demanded U.S. prosecute sheriff, agents
-- Snow says question on agents' prison time 'nonsensical' (10/24/2006)
-- Border Patrol agent held in solitary confinement
-- Imprisoned agent's wife: President is a hypocrite
-- Border agents' prosecutor responds to critics
-- Border agents sent to prison
-- Border agents plead for 'Christmas pardon'
-- White House clarifies 'nonsensical' comment'
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 Mexico Demanded U.S. Prosecute Sheriff, Agents
Documents show role of consulate in cases of Gilmer Hernandez and Ramos-Compean
February 13, 2007    By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

The Mexican Consulate played a previously undisclosed role in the events leading to U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's high-profile prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving 11 and 12 year sentences for their role in the shooting of a drug smuggler, according to documents obtained by WND.

Mexican consular officials also demanded the prosecution of Texas Sheriff's Deputy Guillermo "Gilmer" Hernandez, who subsequently was brought to trial by Sutton, the documents reveal.   Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas – among a number of congressman who have fiercely opposed the prosecution of Ramos and Compean – told WND he has "long suspected that Mexican government officials ordered the prosecution of our law enforcement agents."   "Mexico wants to intimidate our law enforcement into leaving our border unprotected, and we now have confirmation of it in writing," Culberson said.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, was equally outraged.   "The Mexican government should do more to keep illegals from Mexico from crossing into the United States, especially drug dealers, rather than be concerned about our border agents," he told WND. "The U.S. Justice Department should not be working for the Mexican government."   The White House and Sutton's office in El Paso, Texas, did not respond to calls from WND asking for comment.  

Hernandez's attorney Jimmy Parks of San Antonio, Texas, told WND the documents "prove that it is wrong for my client to be in jail."   "The prosecution of my client sends a wrong message to criminal illegal immigrants who are being tempted to cross our borders with impunity," he said.

Mexico intervenes

WND has obtained a copy of a letter written April 18, 2005, by Mexican Consul Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes in Eagle Pass, Texas, demanding Hernandez be prosecuted for injuring a Mexican national, Marciela Rodriguez Garcia.   [Page 1 of the letter can be seen here and page 2 here.]

The first two paragraphs of the letter set out the facts of the case as understood by the Mexican consul. The letter is reproduced here as written:

I am addressing to you, regarding the case of the Mexican national, Ms. MARICELA RODRIGUEZ GARCIA (DOB 4-11-1979), who based on the information obtained by this Consulate, received a gunshot wound by an agent of the Sheriff Department of Edward County, that caused injuries in her face.

As far aw we know, last April 15, 2005, the Mexican national was transported in first insistence to Val Verde Hospital in Del Rio, Tx, and then to San Antonio, Tx., where she was attended at the University Hospital. Today, Mr. Gabriel Salas a member of the staff of this office had the opportunity of interviewed Ms. RODRIGUEZ who confirms the facts of the incident.

The final two paragraphs contain the demands of the Mexican consul:

Based on the Consular Convention between Mexico and the United States and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Consulate of Mexico is entitled to represent, protect and defend the rights of Mexican nationals in this country. Therefore, I would like to point out, that is the care of my Country that this kind of incidents against our nationals, do not remain unpunished.

According to the information provided above, I would appreciate your kind assistance, so this Consulate can be informed of the current investigation, and your support, so you present and file a complaint with the necessaries arraignments.   WND has learned the Mexican consul addressed separate copies of the letter to the following parties:

Don Lettsinger, Sheriff, Edward County, Rocksprings, Texas

Norman Townsent, Supervisor Senior Special Agent, FBI, Laredo, Texas

Bobby Smith, Texas Rangers, Del Rio, Texas

Fred Hernandez, District Attorney, Del Rio, Texas

J.A. Garcia, Attorney at Law, San Antonio,Texas

Lieutenant Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, Subsecretario para América del Norte

Minister Miguel Gutiérrez Tinoco, Director General de Protección y Asuntos Consulares

Emb. Arturo Aquiles Dáger Gómez, Consultor Juridico

Emb. Carlos de Leaza, Embajador de México, Washington, D.C.

Emb. Martha I. Lara, Cónsul General de México, San Antonio, Texas

WND also has learned that on April 29, 2005, Sheriff Lettsinger in Edwards County advised that the Texas Rangers met with the district attorney in Del Rio and was told the state of Texas had been removed from the Hernandez case because the FBI and the federal government were taking over.

The Mexican national Rodriguez was in a Chevrolet Suburban van full of illegals that attempted to run over Hernandez after he had stopped the vehicle for running a stop sign April 14, 2005, in Rocksprings, Texas.   Firing his weapon at the rear tires, a bullet fragment hit Rodriguez in the mouth, cutting her lip and breaking two teeth.   Hernandez, convicted of felony civil rights violations, is incarcerated in a Del Rio prison waiting sentencing.  

In the case of agents Ramos and Compean, WND has obtained notes made by a congressional staff member who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with three investigators from the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General's office.
The staff member's notes indicate the Inspector General's office briefed the congressmen that the Mexican consul had also intervened in the Ramos and Compean case.

According to the notes obtained by WND, the congressmen were told:

Several weeks later (after the February 17, 2005 event near Fabens, Texas), the Mexican Consulate contacted the U.S. Consulate in Mexico saying that they have a person who claims to have been shot by a Border Patrol agent. On March 4, 2005, the U.S. Consulate contacted the U.S. attorney.

DHS investigative reports filed by Special Agent Christopher Sanchez document that March 4, 2005, is the date on which DHS initiated the Ramos-Compean investigation.

WND can find no evidence the Border Patrol, DHS, or U.S. Attorney Sutton had started any investigation of Ramos or Compean concerning the events of Feb. 17, 2005, prior to March 4, 2005.

'Dictating' policy

"The Mexican government should not be dictating United States border policy," Poe told WND after learning of the Mexican consul's involvement in both cases.   Culberson agreed.   "We have it in writing," he told WND, "a letter from the Mexican Consulate in the case of the deputy sheriff from Edwards County and verbal confirmation of the Mexican Consulate's complaint in the case of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean."

Culberson told WND it is "outrageous and unacceptable that our government is prosecuting U.S. law enforcement officials at the request of the Mexican government."   

The congressman said the revelations suggest national security may be at risk:   "U.S. national security interests in the war on terror must determine how we protect our border, not the opinions of the Mexican government," he said.

Culberson called for a congressional investigation, telling WND, "We've now got to find out how many other Mexican government complaints have led to the prosecutions of our law enforcement officers on the border, and this intimidation must stop."

Previous accounts in question

Sutton's claim he learned about the identity of the drug smuggler in the Ramos-Compean case, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, through consular contacts originating in Mexico apparently contradicts his explanation in an exclusive interview with WND Jan. 19, Sutton said his office learned the identity of Aldrete-Davila from a lawyer in Mexico representing the 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.

Sutton's account also appears to contradict the March 14, 2005, memo from Special Agent Christopher Sanchez which claimed the government learned Aldrete-Davila's identity from Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Willcox, Ariz.

As WND reported, Christopher Sanchez's memo had claimed Rene Sanchez and Aldrete-Davila grew up together in Mexico. Rene Sanchez, the memo said, learned Aldrete-Davila was the drug smuggler involved in the incident with agents Ramos and Compean after his mother-in-law had a phone call with Aldrete-Davila's mother in Mexico.   The memo also indicates the shooting was reported to the Mexican Consulate.

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.

Staff notes WND obtained from the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting Poe, Culberson and two other Texas Republican congressmen had with three investigators in the Inspector General's office indicate the Mexican Consulate knew all about Aldrete-Davila. That conflicts with Sutton's claim the drug smuggler was so concerned about prosecution he was afraid to talk to the Mexican Consulate.

It also contradicts the DHS Report of Investigation released by Assistant Inspector General Elizabeth Redman to Congress in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Poe. On a page numbered as "4 of 33," the DHS report appears to have a heavily redacted version of the Rene Sanchez mother-in-law story.

Redman was one of three DHS investigators who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with the four Texas Republican congressman. The other two investigators were identified to WND as Tamara Faulkner and James Taylor.
As WND reported, DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner admitted under oath Feb. 6 that Redman and the other investigators had misled the Texas congressmen. Skinner was responding to questioning by Culberson before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Skinner admitted, contrary to previous claims, DHS did not have investigative reports that would prove Ramos and Compean were rogue Border Patrol agents who told investigators they were "out to shoot some Mexicans" the day of the incident with Aldrete-Davila.   Culberson since has called for the resignation of the investigators.

Ramos-Compean trial

The Mexican consul's role in revealing the identity of Aldrete-Davila also conflicts with prosecutor Debra Kanof's opening statement to the jury in the Ramos-Compean trial.   According to a copy of the statement obtained by WND, Kanof explained the following to the jury Feb. 21, 2006:

Rene Sanchez is stationed in Willcox, Arizona. He's actually from El Paso. And sometime in the last couple of days of February he got a phone call from his mother-in-law. And his mother-in-law lives in Mexico, in a little town on the outskirts of Juarez. And she told him that she had been talking to a friend of hers, a girlfriend of hers, and that that girlfriend had told her that her son, the girlfriend's son, had been shot in back by a Border Patrol agent outside of El Paso, Texas, somewhere near San Elizario.

From there, Kanof explained how Rene Sanchez investigated.

So Rene Sanchez investigated. He made some phone calls to people he knew in El Paso and asked if there was a shooting.
First he needed to find out, however, when that occurred and approximately where it occurred. So he immediately reported it to his supervisor in Willcox, Arizona, who told him to get more information, which he did by calling his mother-in-law. And he instructed his mother-in-law to take a cell phone – his mother-in-law actually lives in El Paso – to take a cell phone to Mexico, give that cell phone to the individual who was shot, and have them call me, so I can get some facts. And that, he did.

The individual who shot is an individual by the name of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. And Rene Sanchez spoke with him on the phone, and he gave him information about what occurred that day.

Kanof said nothing to the jury suggesting the information about Aldrete-Davila actually came from the Mexican consul, who contacted the American Consulate in Mexico, who in turn contacted DHS and prosecutor Sutton's office.

While Ramos and Compean are in federal prison, Aldrete-Davila has found an American lawyer and plans to sue the Border Patrol for $5 million for allegedly violating his civil rights.
 
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 Witnesses against Compean, Ramos to be fired for changing testimonies
Two agents face dismissal, one resigns – all three given immunity despite altering accounts

February 10, 2007     © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Three Border Patrol agents, who were given immunity to testify against fellow agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean in the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of a drug-smuggling suspect as he fled across the U.S.-Mexico border, are no longer with the agency because they changed their accounts of the incident several times.

Removal documents for the proposed firing of agents David Jaquez and Arturo Vasquez were issued on Jan. 29, the Ontario Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported. A third agent, Oscar Juarez, reportedly resigned from the agency last month shortly before he was to be fired.

Jaquez and Vasquez have signed their termination papers and are officially dismissed as of Feb. 28.

As WND reported, a Department of Homeland Security memo filed April 12, 2005, indicates Jaquez, Vasquez and Juarez were closely linked to the shooting for which Ramos and Compean were prosecuted and sentenced to 11 and 12 years, respectively:

Investigation disclosed that the following BP agents were at the location of the shooting incident, assisted in destroying evidence of the shooting, and/or knew/heard about the shooting: Oscar Juarez; Arturo Vasquez; Jose Mendoza; David Jacquez; Lance Medrano; Lorenzo Yrigoyen; Rene Mendez; Robert Arnold; and Jonathan Richards.


Of the nine listed agents, two were supervisors, Arnold and Richards. Arnold was a supervisory Border Patrol agent and Richards was a field operations supervisor, the senior BP officer on the field that day. Agents Vasquez, Jacquez and Juarez, were given immunity for their testimony by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's office. All three were called as witnesses by the prosecution to testify against Ramos and Compean at trial.

According to the termination documents, obtained by the Daily Bulletin, Vasquez originally confirmed Compean's claim he had made a radio call asking for backup after a van driven by suspected drug smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila twice tripped border sensors. In court, however, Vasquez changed his story.

"On March 18, 2005, and on May 11, 2005, you provided different statements to DHS (Office of Inspector General) investigators regarding your knowledge of the February 2005 shooting incident," Vasquez's termination document charges.

"Specifically, you said in the March 18, 2005, statement that you heard radio traffic by (Border Patrol Agent) Jose Compean that there was a 10-46 (apprehended narcotics case) in progress in the area. You testified in court on February 24, 2006, and admitted that your March 18, 2005, statement regarding a 10-46 in progress was inaccurate."

The removal document also says Vasquez told prosecutors Compean described Aldrete-Davila with an expletive after the smuggler threw dirt in his eyes as the two struggled prior to the shooting, even though he did not include that detail in his sworn statement of March 18, 2005.

At trial, Vasquez contradicted the statements of other agents present at the scene when he said he was unable to smell nearly 800 pounds of marijuana when he opened the door to Aldrete-Davila's abandoned van.

On cross examination, Vasquez explained the discrepancy between his post-incident statement and his testimony by saying he wasn't sure why he had thought Compean called for backup while pursuing a narcotics suspect, and, according to the Daily Bulletin, failed to directly answer the defense attorney's question as to why other agents went to assist Compean.

Jaquez's termination document charges him with discrepancies between statements to investigators and testimony given at trial.

"On April 15, 2005, you provided false statements during your interview with DHS OIG investigators regarding the February 17, 2005, shooting incident," it read.

"You told DHS OIG that when you asked (Agent) Compean what had happened, he never mentioned the shooting incident to you. On February 27, you testified in court and admitted that you gave two different statements to DHS OIG investigators."

The DHS memo of April 12, 2005, clearly identifies Jaquez as one of nine agents who "were at the location of the shooting incident, assisted in destroying evidence of the shooting, and/or knew/heard about the shooting."

A November DHS Report of Incident, released this week, said the nine agents at the scene had been unaware of the shooting.

Andy Ramirez, who has closely followed the case as chairman of the group Friends of the Border Patrol, charged that Sutton gave immunity in exchange for favorable testimony.

"Arturo Vasquez, David Jacquez and Oscar Juarez were given immunity because they were willing to tell the story to the jury that Sutton needed told," Ramirez told WND. "They all lied. Juarez even contradicted himself on the stand, changing his lies as he went along.

Why were none of the other agents charged with crimes," Ramirez continued, "when the DHS memo clearly states that others assisted in destroying evidence of the shooting?"

"When you give deals to witnesses like immunity, the government usually gets the testimony (it wants)," Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, told the Daily Bulletin. "This case is a perfect example."
 

 Drug smuggler left cell phone in van
February 10, 2007    By Jerome R. Corsi     © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

The Department of Homeland Security's report on the case of imprisoned Border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean notes the drug smuggler they pursued left behind his cell phone, but there appears to be no evidence investigators made any attempt to identify him.

Moreover, the disclosure directly contradicts prosecutor U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's repeated statements that there was no evidence that permitted law enforcement officers to track down the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Adrete-Davila, for prosecution.

The DHS report, which was heavily redacted, notes the discovery of the cell phone as follows:

Aldrete-Davila stated that he had nothing in his hands as he ran toward the international border. When asked if he possibly could have had a cellular telephone in his hands, Aldrete-Davila reiterated that his hands were empty. He advised there had been a cellular telephone in the van, but stated it was left behind. [Agent's Note: The Form I-44, Report of Apprehension or Seizure, completed by Jose Compean, noted that a cellular telephone was discovered inside the van.
The DHS report failed to include the Form I-44 referred to in the above paragraph.

WND also has obtained a transcript of the testimony of Border Patrol agent Arturo Vasquez at the Ramos-Compean trial. On page 84 of that transcript, Judge Kathleen Cardone of El Paso quashes the defense attempt to discuss Davila's cell phone.

Cardone comments:

Mr. Aldrete-Davila is not on trial. And everybody knows he's got a phone and everybody knows he was transporting the drugs, but, unless we're getting somewhere that's got to do with this case, I'm concerned we're going off …
At that point, the transcript indicates Cardone was interrupted by Prosecutor Debra Kanof. A full transcript of the Ramos-Compean trial has not yet been prepared or released by the U.S. District Court in El Paso.

In his Jan. 19 exclusive interview with WND, Sutton claimed he did not have any way to link Aldrete-Davila to the 743 pounds of marijuana found in the van, except by the smuggler's own testimony.

Now, if I could prove up the case another way, without using the words of Aldrete-Davila himself, we could prosecute the case. If I had a provable case that Aldrete-Davila had committed other crimes, I could prosecute him.
Sutton's contention about Aldrete-Davila was that, "We don't have any evidence."

The DHS report also makes clear that the agency made no attempt to pursue Aldrete-Davila's connections to the drug cartels in Mexico.

As the Limited Use Immunity only pertained to the investigation of the shooting incident, Aldrete-Davila refused to provide information on the drug trafficking organization (DTO) that had hired him to smuggle drugs on February 17, 2005. Aldrete-Davila also advised that he did not want to provide information on the DTO for fear of what the DTO might do to him and/or his family, adding that the DTO knew where he and his family lived and worked.
WND previously reported DHS had information independent of Aldrete-Davila's testimony which had identified him as the perpetrator in the Feb. 17, 2005, incident that led to the imprisonment of Ramos and Compean.

DHS first learned the identity of the drug smuggler through Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Wilcox, Ariz. Sanchez, who had grown up with Aldrete-Davila in Mexico, got the information from his mother-in-law, who had a conversation with Aldrete-Davila's mother on or about March 5, 2005.

Andy Ramirez, who has been involved with the case as chairman of the Friends of the Border Patrol, contended that if the investigators had the cell phone, they should have been able to track down Aldrete-Davila.

"It's shocking that Sutton continues to say there was no evidence on the scene against the drug smuggler, then we find out that DHS had Aldrete-Davila's cell phone all along," he said.

Ramirez also was critical of Sutton's office's choice to interpret the limited use immunity as prohibiting law enforcement from probing Aldrete-Davila's ties to Mexican drug cartel members.

"If Sutton had just focused on finding Aldrete-Davila through the family connections and the cell phone, he might have had a drug bust that could have blown open a drug cartel in Mexico," Ramirez told WND. "Instead, Sutton chose to view limited use immunity as giving Aldrete-Davila a free pass on all his drug activities."

Ramirez also was critical of Sutton's decision to issue Aldrete-Davila a multiple use border pass.

"I'd like to see the government's records on how many times Aldrete-Davila was in and out of the U.S. on that 'gold elite' government border pass Sutton gave the admitted drug smuggler. Who knows how many more loads of dope Aldrete-Davila brought into the U.S. with that card in his wallet?"

What is most outrageous, Ramirez said, "is that a known doper was given the equivalent of the old Disney 'E-ticket.'"

Explaining the significance of the government-issued border pass, Ramirez said, "It may not mean much to the average American who has never been to the border, but in El Paso, our U.S. Customs Agents want to thoroughly inspect traffic entering the U.S. from Mexico.

"The problem is that superiors often order agents to cease inspections as they're more concerned with getting traffic through than checking for dope or weapons of mass destruction."

Ramirez pointed out that anyone with a government-issued border pass bearing the signature and badge number of a DHS investigative officer would most likely just be waved through the border without inspection.

"All this makes me wonder who the drug smuggler Davila really is," Ramirez told WND, "and who Davila might have led to, provided Johnny Sutton had been interested in investigating. I can't figure out why so many high-ranking officials in our government are assisting this known doper and are actively trying to throw members of Congress off the trail by continuing to lie and misrepresent the facts."
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