Minutemen of Clay County Florida
On Jailing of Border Patrol Agents - and setting drug runners free - Page 4

-- Key evidence ignored in border agents case (3/7/2007)
-- Cop called 'double agent' in Ramos-Compean case (2/23/2007)
-- Republican blames White House for failed appeal by Ramos, Compean (2/24/2007)
-- Government denies false statements are lies (3/22/2007)
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 Government denies false statements are 'lies'

March 22, 2007    By Jerome R. Corsi    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Representatives reject explanation of Ramos-Compean case claim.

Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner issued a statement denying his department "lied to Congress" about the Ramos-Compean case, but Texas' representatives in Congress aren't buying it.

Skinner said affirmations from his staff to Congress that his office had investigative reports substantiating its claim Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean "wanted to shoot a Mexican" in the Feb. 17, 2005, incident with drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila were just "misstatements."

But four Texas Republican congressman or staff members who attended the Sept. 26 meeting are rejecting Skinner's explanation.

"Mr. Skinner sent his staff to brief me and three other members of Congress," U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul explained to WND. "During that briefing we were told that Mr. Compean and Mr. Ramos stated, 'they were out to shoot Mexicans.' The DHS staff made these statements several times. Why wouldn't we believe them? Didn't they have the facts of their investigation by that point? It was just two weeks later that these Border Patrol agents were sentenced."

The two agents were arrested for and convicted of shooting at Aldrete-Davila, who was attempting to bring marijuana into the U.S. as he fled back into Mexico. The agents now are serving prison terms of 11 and 12 years while the smuggler was given immunity to return to the U.S. and testify against them.

WND previously reported Skinner admitted under oath Feb. 6 to the DHS Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that his investigators had "misrepresented" DHS internal reports in the Sept. 26 briefing to Reps. McCaul, John Culberson, Ted Poe and Kenny Marchant.

In his new statement, Skinner directly asserted, "I stand by the work of my office. Our investigators did an outstanding job, and I fully support their work.

"At no time did any member of my staff lie to Congress about the investigation of Mr. Ramos and Mr. Compean or any other matter," Skinner said. "My staff has acted honestly and in good faith."

But Skinner continued to acknowledge his staff made "misstatements," although he denied those misstatements had any material impact on the outcome of the case:

At the time my staff tried to accommodate then Chairman McCaul by providing an oral briefing, we did not have the benefit of a trial transcript or even a written report of investigation. Consequently, my staff made some misstatements during the briefing, but nothing that affected the investigation, the trial, the convictions or the sentencing of Mr. Ramos and Mr. Compean.
WND has reported that the Sept. 26 meeting was called by McCaul, who was then chairman of the Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

In the same article, WND also reported that for over four months following the Sept. 26 meeting, DHS refused to turn over promised investigative reports its investigators purported would validate their claims that Ramos and Compean were "rogue Border Patrol" agents.

Now Skinner's explanation is being questioned, too.

"Mr. Skinner admitted that his staff made mistakes during two different congressional hearings," McCaul told WND. "He should fix the mistakes, make sure they don't happen again and move on."

Marchant also rejected Skinner's statement.

"Although the office of Mr. Skinner phrased their statements carefully so as not to lie directly," Marchant said, "they certainly misled us into believing that the agents went on patrol with the intent of shooting someone. During the briefing we were told one or both Mr. Ramos and Compean said they wanted 'to shoot a Mexican.'"

Michael Green, press secretary to Culberson, told WND the congressman continued to stand behind a letter he wrote to Skinner on Feb. 14.

In that letter, Culberson called for Skinner's resignation, as well as the resignations of the three representatives of the DHS Inspector General's office who met with the congressmen Sept. 26 – DHS Deputy Inspector James Taylor, DHS Assistant for Investigations Elizabeth Redman and DHS Congressional Liaison Tamara Faulkner.

In a press release, Poe was equally critical of Skinner's disclaimer supporting his staff.

Poe explained Skinner's staff failed to produce the documents supporting their assertions because the documents "don't exist."

Poe objected to Skinner's assertion that the briefing was provided to McCaul and the other Texas congressmen "at his request in his capacity as chair of the subcommittee on Investigations. Mr. McCaul and the other members understood that the information my office was providing was not public, and was not to be made public – it was for official use only for the committee's use in discharging its official business."

Poe countered: "At no time was I told that the information given to me and the three other members of Congress was confidential, however I'm sure the OIG staff wishes it had been since the staff misled us on what occurred at the border. To imply that the false information given to us was not intended for the public justifies lying to Members of Congress is flat out appalling."

"OIG would do well to simply tell the truth and give accurate information, in public and private," Poe's statement continued, "rather than to use slick Madison Avenue press releases to justify their misstatements."

In an interview with WND, Jack Hirschfield, press secretary to McCaul, told WND "Skinner has admitted to Congress under oath his staff provided false statements to Congress about Ramos and Compean. You can call the statements misstatements or mistakes, those statements were false and that makes them lies."

"What Representative McCaul wanted to know from DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner," Hirschfield explained to WND, "is Number One, how are you going fix the problem. Number Two, we want to know how the problem existed. Number Three, why did you come to members of Congress with false information? Number Four, why did you provide this information to Congress? And Number Five, what disciplinary action is going to be taken against your staff for providing these false statements? Basically, how are you going to clean up your mess and make sure it never happens again?"

"What we expected from Mr. Skinner in short order after his admission to Congress under oath that his staff misrepresented their reports was the answers to these questions," Hirschfield argued. "What Skinner ended up sending was this memo which made the hole he was in even deeper."
 
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 Key evidence ignored in border agents' case
Posted: March 7, 2007    By Jerome R. Corsi    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

A private investigator who was hired by former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos says he doesn't think prosecutors made any effort to find the smuggler, later identified as Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila.

Private investigator Freddie Bonilla hired by former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos told WND that his investigation of the Feb. 17, 2005, incident was straight-forward, and led him quickly to Aldrete-Davila's identity.  He believes the federal government should have been able to do the same thing.  Bonilla, was a homicide investigator with the El Paso Police Department and later the chief of detectives for the El Paso Sheriff's Department, has been a private investigator for several decades.

In preparing for the defense of Ramos, Bonilla said he started by looking at the van that Aldrete-Davila abandoned at the scene.  Ramos, who along with Jose Compean was accused of shooting at Aldrete-Davila when Aldrete-Davila's van – loaded with drugs – was trapped by federal officers and he fled on foot back to Mexico.

"Why didn't the Drug Enforcement Administration track down the van to find out who the owner was?" Bonilla asked WND. "That van was physical evidence of the crime that was never seriously investigated. Yet, prosecutor [U.S. Attorney] Johnny Sutton has been all over the national media saying there was no physical evidence he could have used to prosecute Aldrete-Davila. What about the van?"

The two former federal agents now are serving prison terms of 11 and 12 years on their convictions for that incident, even though Aldrete-Davila never was charged with the drug case – or a subsequent drug smuggling incident – and in fact was given immunity to testify against the federal border agents.

In an interview WND published Jan. 20, Sutton said there was no evidence against Aldrete-Davila which could have been used to build a case against him at trial. He explained that was why he granted immunity, to gain access to information in return.


The van used by drug smuggler

But WND also has reported that a March 20, 2005 Department of Homeland Security investigative report filed by Jose Arredondo and vehicle towing receipts document that Aldrete-Davila was driving a 1989 Ford Econoline, bearing Texas license plate number 9GSW89.

At the same time, WND reported that the van was towed to the El Paso sheriff’s compound where it sat for approximately one month before the U.S. Border Patrol Evidence Team entered the compound, dusted the vehicle, and found 11 fingerprints, only three of which were duplicates.

But there's no indication the DEA or Department of Homeland Security investigators ever examined the vehicle or the fingerprints for evidence that might have led to Aldrete-Davila.

Bonilla said he quickly tracked the vehicle to Jesus Beltran, an El Paso self-employed construction worker who buys and sells used cars to supplement his income. Then Beltran examined photos of the van provided by Bonilla, as well as wrecking company towing records, and identified it as one he purchased in 2004 from an El Paso wrecking lot.

He registered it under his name and kept it for five months, then sold it to a friend in Juarez, Mexico, for $1,300. The Texas plates on the car at the time of the Feb. 17, 2005, drug incident were registered to Beltran.

"If I could find the car and how it got down to Mexico," Bonilla said, "then why couldn't the DEA or the DHS have tracked down the car in the attempt to find out who the drug smuggler was? Right there I found out far more than anybody ever investigated for the Border Patrol."

Even after Davila came forth on March 4, 2005, with the Mexican Consulate demanding the prosecution of the Border Patrol agents who shot him, Bonilla felt DEA and DHS should have investigated the van.

"If you tracked down Beltran's friend in Juarez," Bonilla argued to WND, "dedicated law enforcement in the U.S. might have uncovered the drug smuggling ring that hired Davila to run that load across the border."

Bonilla provided WND with photos of the drug van at the levee, where Davila ran the two front wheels over the edge before he abandoned the vehicle in the attempt to escape on foot. Bonilla also provided photos of the 743 pounds of marijuana discovered in the van at the scene of the incident.

Another issue Bonilla raised was the cell phone found in the van after Aldrete-Davila fled. "There were a total of 9 Border Patrol officers on the scene Feb. 17, 2005, plus two supervisors. Why is it that the DEA or DHS never investigated the cell phone Davila left behind? That cell phone should have had valuable numbers in the memory that could have led to Davila or the drug syndicate he worked for."

WND also has reported the Border Patrol found a cell phone in the drug van, with a charger plugged into the cigarette lighter.

The telephone became a subject of questioning at the trial for Ramos and Compean, when Ramos defense attorney Mary Stillinger asked the smuggler about it, and he said he got it from drug dealers in Mexico who hired him to walk across the border, find the marijuana-loaded van with a key in the ignition and drive it away.

But there was a discrepancy between his testimony and the evidence observed by investigators:


Stillinger: The phone that was in the van, was that your telephone, or was that a telephone that was given to you for the purpose of helping you to do this transaction?
Aldrete-Davila: Yeah, they gave it to me when I got on the van. When they sent me there, they gave it to me. I didn't have a telephone.

Stillinger: Okay. And they gave you the phone charger with it?

Aldrete-Davila: No, just the telephone.

Stillinger: Okay. So the phone charger – there was a phone charger in the van, wasn't there?

Aldrete-Davila: I don't know. They just gave me the telephone. I don't know if there was a charger or not.

Aldrete-Davila further testified that the phone was Nextel and that the drug users used the radio feature, not the telephone, to communicate. He also testified that he did not plug the phone into a charger.

"The whole thing with the cell phone was ridiculous," Bonilla told WND. "That cell phone should have been the first thing DEA or DHS should have been investigated to find Davila or his drug smuggling partners."

"Besides, Davila was lying about everything," Bonilla told WND. "He never explained how that white van on the other side of the Rio Grande knew to be there waiting for him when he ran away. Did he call his buddies when he was evading the Border Patrol hot pursuit? How come DEA or DHS didn't look into whether Davila called anybody when he was running away?"

He also offered an explanation for why Compean and Border Patrol Agent Arturo Vasquez picked up the spent shell casings expended when Compean and Ramos fired at the fleeing smuggler.

"I was a firearms trainer in the Marine Corps," Bonilla said, "and from the first day at the firing range through 26 years in law enforcement, it was hammered into my head that the first command after you finish shooting is to load and holster your weapon, and the second command is always, to pick up your brass or shell casings."

He also suggested that Border Patrol supervisor Jonathan Richards, who was also on the scene in 2005, should have known there had been trouble. "Richards was the main supervisor at the scene and he was made aware there had been shooting, despite what he testified at trial," Bonilla insisted. "Richards saw Agent Compean covered with dirt and bleeding from the face. But he convinced Compean that if Compean reported the matter, that it would require a lot of paper work, and then having to go to the F.B.I."

That would corroborate an earlier report when WND examined the transcript of a May 15, 2005 job suspension hearing Compean had with El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Louis Barker, in which Compean said Richards discouraged him from filing written reports after the incident with Davila.

Besides the Ramos-Compean case, there also has been an uproar over the conviction of Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez, who fired his weapon at a van loaded with illegal aliens he thought were trying to run him down. He was convicted for that and he's scheduled for sentencing later this month.

Yet another that already has been resolved, at the expense of a former federal agent, involves David Sipe, who was accused of improperly hitting a coyote [someone who smuggles illegal aliens into the U.S.] with a flashlight while he was resisting arrest. He was convicted and sent to prison before an appellate court overturned his conviction, and he was acquitted during a re-trial in January.

However, Sipe lost both his career and marriage because of the charges against him.
 
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 Congressman: Bush 'doesn't give a damn'

February 24, 2007 By Jerome R. Corsi © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., denounced President Bush for his refusal to intervene in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to deny the bond requests of imprisoned former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, pending their appeal.   Rohrabacher, in a statement, spared no words in laying the blame on the White House for not freeing Ramos and Compean on bond:

"Acquiescing to the insistence of the White House, the court has decided to treat Ramos and Compean worse than they would common criminals, which is consistent with the way the Bush administration has handled these two border agents from the beginning," Rohrabacher said. "To suggest that this underscores President Bush's mean-spirited and vindictive nature is an understatement."

Rohrabacher said the "lives of Ramos and Compean are obviously at risk, and the president not only doesn't care about securing our southern border, he doesn't give a damn about those who protect it."    Ramos and Compean entered federal prison last month to begin sentences of 11 and 12 years respectively for their actions in the shooting and wounding of a drug smuggler who was given immunity to testify against them.

A spokesman for Rohrabacher's office told WND the White House "was afraid of a public relations disaster," explaining why the White House refused to back-channel support for releasing the two imprisoned Border Patrol agents pending their appeal.   "The visual of Ramos and Compean free and able to talk to the media is a nightmare for the White House," Tara Setmayer told WND.

An emotional Monica Ramos, the wife of Ignacio Ramos, told WND she and her family and friends "had been so hopeful that Nacho would be home soon."   She expressed hope the appeal of the court decision would be successful or a new trial might yet be ordered.   "I have three small children to raise, now without a husband. I have to be brave and trust in God that my husband will be home soon and that my husband will be safe and protected away from us," she said.
 
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 Cop called 'double agent' in Ramos-Compean case
 February 23, 2007   By Jerome R. Corsi    © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Border Patrol officer accused of helping drug smuggler who was boyhood friend.

The father-in-law of imprisoned Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos is calling for an investigation of Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez – a longtime friend of the Mexican drug smuggler granted immunity to testify against Ramos and incarcerated fellow agent Jose Compean – as a possible "double agent."

"I believe Rene Sanchez acted as a 'double agent' in the Ramos-Compean case," Joe Loya, father of Ramos's wife Monica, told WND. "He was doing everything he could to protect his life-long friend, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, but at the same time he was working with Johnny Sutton to make sure Ramos and Compean were convicted."

Loya further charged that he had reason to believe "Rene Sanchez's actions make it look like he could have been in the drug business with Aldrete-Davila all along. The Department of Homeland Security never investigated, and from the beginning of this case Johnny Sutton was out to prosecute the Border Patrol, not the drug smugglers."

As WND has previously reported, Sanchez and Aldrete-Davila grew up together in Mexico, prompting some observers – including Friends of the Border Patrol chairman Andy Ramirez – to question the propriety of a family friend of Aldrete-Davila playing such a major role in reporting the Ramos-Compean incident involving the drug smuggler.

Yet later, during the trial, Aldrete-Davila testified that Rene Sanchez suggested he should get immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean, get medical attention in the U.S. for his injury and consider filing a lawsuit against the Border Patrol. The drug smuggler further testified Sanchez was the person who helped him find an attorney in the U.S. to represent him when he testified for the prosecution at the Ramos-Compean trial and to sue the Border Patrol for violating his civil rights.

WND asked Loya what he believed Sanchez’s motivation was.

"The DEA should investigate whether Rene Sanchez was a partner to Aldrete-Davila in the drug smuggling business," Loya responded. "The DEA should investigate whether Rene Sanchez is a mole planted by Aldrete-Davila's drug connections to be their operative from within the Border Patrol."

WND made repeated calls for comment from Rene Sanchez, phoning his office in Willcox, Ariz., and being referred to Rob Daniels, the Border Patrol's public information officer in Tucson. Daniels told WND he had no comment on the story.

Loya cites a July 7, 2005, memo from Border Patrol Agent Nolan Blanchette as support for the need for an investigation of Sanchez. The memo, says Loya, makes one wonder how Sanchez, working in Willcox, Ariz., could have come by such accurate, early knowledge of drug smuggling runs on the border near Fabens, Texas, where Ramos and Compean were convicting in the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Osbaldo Adrete-Davila as he fled across the Mexican border.

"For a long time, I have believed that Rene Sanchez acted as a 'double-agent' in the Ramos-Compean case," Loya charged to WND. "Now we have evidence in writing to back up that suspicion."

"The Blanchette memo," Loya said, "raises the question whether Rene Sanchez was passing on information to Blanchette so the Border Patrol could bust Aldrete-Davila's competition that was operating with a truck and horse trailer rig along a route that Aldrete-Davila wanted kept open for himself."

(Story continues below)


Loya said that since before the trial he believed Sanchez was working to promote life-long friend Aldrete-Davila in the drug smuggling business.

"He was part of what I believe was a conspiracy launched by prosecutor Johnny Sutton to convict agents Ramos and Compean at any cost, even if it involved lying," Loya said.

The Blanchette memo was a report to his supervisor, R. Banjamin Robinson, at the Fabens, Texas, Border Patrol Station.

In the memo, Blanchette wrote:


On 07/07/2005 I received information from Rene Sanchez by telephone regarding a possibility that a Border Patrol Agent, working at the Fabens Station, was involved in narcotics smuggling.
Blanchette explained Sanchez told him narcotics were being smuggled into the Fabens area "using a truck and horse trailer" and that Sanchez believed a Border Patrol agent was involved in the operation that involved "driving the vehicle and trailer through the river into the United States on a regular or weekly basis."

Blanchette noted Sanchez had contacted him on previous occasions "with information that I believed to be erroneous which later turned out to be factual."

He also expressed surprise that Sanchez told him about the Ramos-Compean shooting incident before it became common knowledge.

Blanchette ends his memo by noting Sanchez "seems to be unusually well informed but gives me the impression that he is reporting all this information."

Loya said he believes Sanchez was "working both sides of the street."

"He was doing everything he could to protect his life-long friend, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, but at the same time he was working with Johnny Sutton to make sure Ramos and Compean were convicted," Loya said.

Loya insists the Drug Enforcement Agency should investigate whether Sanchez was a partner to Aldrete-Davila in the drug smuggling business.

"The DEA should investigate whether Rene Sanchez is a mole planted by Aldrete-Davila's drug connections to be their operative from within the Border Patrol," he said.

Acknowledging to WND that these were serious charges, Loya said Sanchez "is not as innocent as he maintains."

"Take a look at the trial transcript and do some digging," he said. "You'll see why I'm calling for a DEA investigation."

The trial transcript and evidence newly developed by WND suggests the Sanchez family has ties to drug traffickers in San Ysidro, Mexico. WND has obtained records from the U.S. District Court in El Paso which show Rene Sanchez's brother, Hector Omar Sanchez, was convicted Jan. 23, 1996, on one federal charge of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute or dispense and a second federal charge of importing marijuana into the U.S.

On March 18, 1996, Hector Omar Sanchez was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment and five years of supervisory release on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. He resides in San Ysidro, Mexico, where he runs a car wash and a restaurant.

Loya said Hector Omar Sanchez and Rene Sanchez continue to stay in contact with Aldrete-Davila and his family in San Ysidro, despite Rene Sanchez's assertions to the contrary.

Rene Sanchez's mother-in-law grew up with Aldrete-Davila's mother in San Ysidro, he noted.

"That's a very tight community down there in Mexico and a lot of drugs pass through," he said. "You have to believe a lot of people know what's going on."

'Highly irregular'

A Department of Homeland Security investigative report written by Special Agent Christopher Sanchez (no relation to Rene Sanchez) March 14, 2005, documents that Rene Sanchez accessed the Border Patrol Tracking System to query for any internal information concerning a load of marijuana seized by the Border Patrol on Feb. 17, 2005, the day of the Ramos-Compean incident.

"This is highly irregular," Loya said. "Rene Sanchez is a Border Patrol agent, not a Border Patrol investigator or internal affairs officer. What is Rene Sanchez doing accessing a Border Patrol computer system that gives him access to all Border Patrol drug interdictions across the country?"

A second DHS investigative report written by Christopher Sanchez July 18, 2005, documents that Rene Sanchez, who on Feb. 17, 2005, was assigned to the Border Patrol station in Willcox, Ariz., called Blanchette, who was temporarily assigned to the Border Patrol station in Fabens, Texas, near the drug crossing location of Aldrete-Davila on Feb. 17, 2005.

The July 18, 2005, Christopher Sanchez memo documents that Rene Sanchez had called Blanchette to ask if he knew "anything about a shooting that occurred on February 17, 2005, involving a van loaded with dope in which BP agents shot at the driver."

Once again, Loya told WND these contacts were highly irregular.

"Rene Sanchez trained Nolan Blanchette at the academy," Loya explained. "Why is Rene Sanchez, a Border Patrol agent way over in the Willcox, Ariz., sector, calling an agent back in Fabens, Texas, to ask about a drug incident Rene Sanchez suspects involves his friend, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila? This is highly suspicious."

An examination of the Ramos-Compean trial transcript yields the following support for the contention Rene Sanchez and Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila were old and continuing friends:


In direct examination by prosecutor Debra Kanof, Rene Sanchez testified (trial transcript, Vol. VI, beginning at page 225) that although he was born in the United States, he was raised in San Ysidro, Mexico, a town he left when he was 15 or 16 years old.

Sanchez further testified he first learned of Aldrete-Davila's involvement in the Feb. 17, 2005, incident through a phone call he received from his mother-in-law, Gregoria Toquinto, in late February or early March 2005.

Sanchez said his mother-in-law called him from El Paso and reported on a phone call she had with Aldrete-Davila's mother, Macaria, in Mexico. Sanchez said Toqinto and Macaria Aldrete-Davila had been friends since childhood.

Sanchez further testified that while growing up in San Ysidro, he was a friend of Aldrete-Davila's brother, Sergio, and that he knew Osbaldo when Sanchez was "a little kid."

In response to a question from prosecutor Kanof, Sanchez denied he kept in contact with the Aldrete-Davila family after he came to the U.S. at 15 or 16 years of age. Still, Sanchez admitted he was the chamberlain for Osbaldo's sister's quinceanera (15th birthday party). Sanchez testified he had not seen Sergio Aldrete-Davila since Sanchez was 18 years old.

Yet, in cross-examination by Ramos' attorney Mary Stillinger (trial transcript, Vol. VI, beginning at page 238), Rene Sanchez characterized San Ysidro as a small community of some 2,000, where families typically know one another.

Rene Sanchez also admitted (Vol. VI, pages 255-256) he saw Aldrete-Davila in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico – across from McAllen, Texas – in 2004, when Sanchez was visiting another friend, Jose Osuna Toquinto, an engineer and another boyhood friend from San Ysidro. Sanchez testified Jose Osuna Toquinto was a cousin of his mother-in-law.

Rene Sanchez further testified he keeps track of his old friends from San Ysidro and he frequently went to Tres Sacales – across from Fabens, Texas – with his wife, who also grew up in San Ysidro.

No questions were asked of Rene Sanchez about his brother, Omar Hector Sanchez. WND has learned Stillinger and other defense counsel had no knowledge, at the time, of the trial of Omar Hector Sanchez.
On Feb. 22, 2006, under cross-examination by Stillinger at the Ramos-Compean trial, Aldrete-Davila contradicted Rene Sanchez by testifying he last saw Sanchez at Aldrete-Davila's mother's house, some six months prior to the trial (Vol. VII, page 208).

Aldrete-Davila also testified (Vol. VII, pages 214-215) that Rene Sanchez suggested to him Aldrete-Davila should get immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean, get medical attention in the U.S. for his injury and consider filing a lawsuit against the Border Patrol.

Aldrete-Davila further testified Rene Sanchez was the person who helped him find an attorney in the U.S. to represent him when he testified for the prosecution at the Ramos-Compean trial and to sue the Border Patrol for violating his civil rights.

"It's all a lie that Rene Sanchez didn't know Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila very well," Loya maintained to WND.

"I believe Rene Sanchez probably even coached Aldrete-Davila what to say at trial, to maintain he was only delivering this load of marijuana because he needed money to buy medicine for his sick mother, to say he wasn't a drug professional and that he was only scared, trying to get back to his family in Mexico," Loya said.

When Rene Sanchez was called back to the stand March 2, 2006, Stillinger pursued a line of questioning with him that suggests Sanchez's first response after learning from his mother-in-law that Aldrete-Davila was involved in the Feb. 17, 2005, incident was to go into the Border Patrol computer system to get information that would help his friend.

The trial transcript at Vol. XIII, page 116, has the cross-examination of Rene Sanchez by Stillinger.

The defense counsel's questions were framed to suggest Rene Sanchez's motive in searching the Border Patrol database, the BPETS, was to see if Aldrete-Davila might have a basis for a lawsuit against the Border Patrol.


Stillinger: Okay. And it was important to you to find out whether or not the shooting had been reported, right?
R. Sanchez: Yes, ma'am.

Stillinger: Okay. Because there might be a good lawsuit, if the shooting wasn't reported, right?

R. Sanchez: If the shooting wasn't reported?

Stillinger: Right.

R. Sanchez: If it wasn't reported, I guess, ma'am.

Stillinger: I guess what I'm asking you is: What you were really doing was investigating the viability of a lawsuit, wasn't it?

R. Sanchez: No, ma'am.

Stillinger: Okay. So even if you saw there wasn't any chance for a lawsuit, because the shooting had been reported and it had been declared a justified shooting, you weren't going to tell them, Yes, but I knew who the smuggler is, anyway, were you?

R. Sanchez: At the point when I saw the seizure on BPETS, I didn't know who the smuggler was.

Stillinger: Well, you were only looking at it because you knew that Aldrete-Davila had been involved in an incident there, right?

R. Sanchez: I wasn't – yes, ma'am.

Stillinger: Okay. And then you connected it to a seizure, right?

R. Sanchez: The first time I looked at BPETS, I didn't have any knowledge of the shooting incident being connected to the seizure.

Loya remains suspicious that Rene Sanchez's motives were to find the drug smuggler.

"Rene Sanchez wanted to protect his friend," Loya said. "Frankly, I don't believe the whole story about the mother-in-law. I've always thought it was a cover.

"What I think really happened is that Aldrete-Davila picked up the phone and told Rene Sanchez that he had been shot by Border Patrol," Loya continued. "From that moment on, Rene Sanchez figured there just might be a way for them to cash in with a lawsuit."

An examination of the trial transcript shows a discussion about the Blanchette memo, even though Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled the memo inadmissible.

In a sidebar with Cardone, Stillinger expresses her concerns directly (Volume XI, page 139): "And Rene Sanchez, I think his credibility whether he was acting as a Border Patrol or as a friend to Aldrete-Davila is a very important question for this jury to hear about."

In cross-examining Christopher Sanchez March 1, 2006, Stillinger begins to question him about Blanchette's memo. Cardone objects that no ruling has been made about the admissibility of the memo.

Still, in the sidebar between Kanof and Stillinger at the bench, the trial transcript records (Vol. XII, beginning at page 65) that Blanchette's memo indicated Rene Sanchez seemed to know a lot about drug activity in the Fabens, Texas, sector, especially for an agent who was stationed in Willcox, Ariz.

Kanof tells Cardone, "Nolan Blanchette told his supervisors that Rene Sanchez had information about horse trailers being used to traffic."

Stillinger objects to Cardone that when Christopher Sanchez got the Blanchette memo he shared it with Rene Sanchez rather than begin an investigation of Rene Sanchez himself.

Stillinger says in the transcript:


This guy (Christopher Sanchez) gets a memo in July, where somebody is saying – not terrible, but saying, I have concerns about Rene Sanchez. And it's not terrible, but he seems unusually well informed.
This witness (Christopher Sanchez) does – instead of investigating it, he turns the memo over to Rene Sanchez, so Rene Sanchez can call Blanchette and say, Why are you writing these things about me? It's not normal behavior.

It's not normal behavior, I don't think, for an OIG (Office of the Inspector General) agent to turn over an investigatory memo within hours of having received it, to turn it over to the subject of the memo. And I think that shows his bias in this investigation.

In the sidebar discussion that follows, Chris Antcliff, attorney for Compean, adds (Vol. XII, page 69), "And Rene Sanchez is a line agent in Willcox, Arizona, who has – apparently comes regularly into information about illegal drug activities in the Fabens sector of the Border Patrol here. The question is, Where is he getting that information?"

WND asked Stillinger to explain her suspicion concerning Rene Sanchez.

Stillinger replied she was under an order by the court not to discuss information about Rene Sanchez that was sealed at the trial by Judge Cardone.

Stillinger's comment confirmed for WND that information about Rene Sanchez had been kept from the jury by Cardone. WND previously reported Cardone also sealed information about Aldrete-Davila's second October 2005 drug incident involving Cipriano Ortiz-Hernandez.

Stillinger wanted to call Blanchette as a witness in the Ramos-Compean trial, to question him on the July 7, 2005, memo, but [judge] Cardone ruled the testimony would not be relevant.
 
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