From the January 2007 Idaho Observer:
On the border
The American Patrol (www.americanpatrol.com) is a handful of citizens dedicating their lives to protecting the southern border. They have even placed cameras and censors near the border to catch illegals entering the country. It is estimated that between 15 and 40 million illegals are in the U.S. Three million are expected to arrive this year—and the U.S. government has made no plans to address what a reasonable person would infer is a dire threat to national security. The U.S. government is, however, imprisoning border patrol agents who attempt to prevent illegals from entering.
The Bush plan for illegal immigration: Imprison those trying to stop it
It gets a little overwhelming when you realize that, when you count the different ways the American people are under attack from their own government, it is all of them—including the very lines that define our national boundaries are under attack. The truth has been best stated by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO): The Democrats want millions of Mexicans so they can buy their votes with entitlement programs; the Republicans want millions of Mexicans for the cheap labor. Then Walter Burien comes along and says, "Qualify the motive—it’s the money." To the leaders in government and industry who have promoted this migratory disaster and all the people who have been "just doing their jobs," there is no conscious, long-range plan to enslave mankind, its just the money. How pathetic.
Below is the full transcript of a letter from the father-in-law of Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos who was just sentenced to 11 years in prison for injuring an illegal who attempted to smuggle a large amount of weed into the U.S. near San Ysidro, CA.. Keep in mind that Alberto Gonzalez’ Justice Department and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff both know the story you are about to read and solicited the perjured testimony of an apparently-connected criminal that put Ramos and fellow agent Jose Campean (who got 12 years) in prison. Curiously, we are now hearing rumors that President Bush is considering a pardon for these men. Might as well—the message has been sent: The U.S. government will not tolerate federal employees who desire to prevent undocumented illegal aliens and their contraband from entering this country.
December 25, 2006
Honorable Congressman Walter Jones
1105-C Corporate Dr.
Greenville, N. C. 27858-4211
Dear Congressman Jones,
My name is Joe Loya. I am the father-in-law of Border Patrol agent Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Ramos. He was sentenced on October 22, 2006, to 11 years and one day in federal prison for the wounding of an illegal, admitted drug smuggler from Mexico. His fellow agent, Jose Compean was sentenced to 12 years.
There are plenty of versions of what actually took place when two Border Patrol agents, Ramos and Jose Compean, tried to chase down a drug smuggler in Fabens, Texas, 29 miles east of El Paso. But, unless you were there; unless you were present for the 12-day trial; unless you paid $9,000 to read the 3,000 pages of transcripts; unless you spoke with their fellow officers; unless you saw the affidavits from jurors who claimed that they were bullied into going along with the conviction, you cannot appreciate the enormity of this outrage. I have spent 20 months and hundreds of hours investigating this case because of the lies of the smuggler, the unethical prosecutions and two agents who were given proffer letters, or immunity, in exchange for their testimony against the two agents. Please read my account of what really happened that day and then please, do everything you can to persuade President Bush to issue an immediate pardon to these two fine agents.
What really happened?
Basically, two Border Patrol agents, attempting to interrupt a cross-border drug smuggling operation, fired their weapons in self-defense at an admitted illegal alien, drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila. Davila had brought his Ford custom window van across the Rio Grande and driven it five miles into the small town of Fabens which is across the border from San Ysidro, Mexico, the home of the smuggler. Job seeking illegals don’t come across illegally in their vehicles.
Electronic sensors had alerted agent Compean, who was patrolling the border when the van came across the river. Compean alerted the other border patrol agents through radio communications. Agent Compean could not pursue because he was on the opposite side of a canal when he spotted the van headed into Fabens. When the van got into town, it was spotted by an agent by the name of Oscar Juarez.
Oscar Juarez was one of the agents given immunity from prosecution because he admitted lying three times on three prior statements during questioning. Agent Ramos was eating lunch at the Border Patrol Station, one mile west of Fabens, when he heard the alert by Compean. He ran out, jumped into his patrol vehicle and drove into town to try to intercept the smuggler. By the time he got there, the van had already been spotted by agent Juarez, who was in pursuit. The smuggler had turned around and was headed back to the river. Agent Ramos was now waiting on the farm road that leads back to Mexico.
There is hardly any traffic on this farm road. He joined the pursuit when the smuggler went by and actually got between the smuggler and agent Juarez’s unit. The smuggler had every opportunity to surrender but had no intentions of doing so. He was facing many years in prison. Agent Compean had stayed back by the river knowing that the smuggler would surely be coming back. He was waiting on the south edge of a canal where the road comes to a dead end. The smuggler was chased for over three miles of paved road and one mile of dirt road before he jumped out of the moving van and tried to ditch it into the canal. Only the front tires of the van made it into the edge of the canal. The time was a little after 1:00 in the afternoon. Visibility was good except for the last mile, The dust created by the vehicles made visibility very poor and Juarez would testify that he had to keep about a 10-car distance between his unit and that of Ramos.
The smuggler went into the canal, which is approximately 15 feet deep and thirty feet wide. The canal was about three feet deep in water and mud. Agent Compean was waiting on the opposite side or south side of the canal. He was holding his shotgun, pointed up in the air and yelling at the smuggler to stop. By now the agents knew, instinctively, that they were in a very dangerous situation. Ramos had parked about 30 feet behind the smugglers van and was now chasing the smuggler on foot. The smuggler ran straight at Compean who tried to grab him by the shoulder, but lost his footing and fell to the ground. By this time, agent Ramos had gone down into the canal to try to cross and assist Compean. The canal’s walls are very steep and hard to climb. The smuggler ran around Compean and started running up the slope and onto the elevated levee road where Compean had parked his border patrol unit. The prosecution would claim that the smuggler was trying to surrender. Compean got up instantly and took off after the smuggler. He caught up with him and managed to bring him down on the opposite side of the elevated levee road where Compean again tried to apprehend the smuggler.
The smuggler managed to get loose and again started running towards Mexico, after throwing and kicking dirt all over Compean. It is then that the smuggler pulls out a shiny object and points it at Compean in a shooting manner. Compean had received cuts to his face and on one hand. Compean was still lying on the ground when he finally pulled out his Baretta and fired at the smuggler in self-defense. The smuggler said in his first statement that Compean fired five or six shots. The lying prosecutors would up that number to 16 shots. None of Compean’s shots hit the smuggler. Agent Ramos was climbing out of the canal when he heard the shots. He could not see and could not tell who was firing shots. All he knew was that he had to go to the aid of his fellow agent and ran to the levee to assist. Compean was still on the ground when Ramos got to him. Ramos could not tell if Compean had been shot. The smuggler was running towards the river and Ramos took off after him.
This is when the smuggler turned and pointed at Ramos with the same shiny object which Ramos took for a gun. Ramos testified that he took one shot and that the smuggler turned and kept running. The smuggler then disappeared into the thick, tall brush along the river. Ramos said that he stopped and and kept watching for the smuggler to come out of the brush. Ramos started walking back to check on Compean who was now walking towards Ramos. Ramos testified that he patted down Compean and asked him if he was OK.
At this point two other agents arrived on the levee road and got off their border patrol unit to assist. All four agents saw the smuggler walk out of the brush, cross the dry river-bed and get into a getaway vehicle with two other suspects. They sped off into Mexico. The agents then walked back to the edge of the canal where Supevisor Jonathan Richards and three other agents were searching the van. Three agents, including Compean testified that they told Richards that Compean had been assaulted. Assault on a federal agent carries a mandatory five year prison sentence. Richards failed to call the FBI to come and investigate.
During my investigation, I clocked agent Ramos twice to see how long it took him to get from his vehicle to Compean on the opposite side of the levee. The water level in the canal was the same as the day of this incident. The first run took him 45 seconds and the second one took 39 seconds. The agents had to make split second decisions that day. They knew that they were dealing with a dangerous drug smuggler and not with the everyday illegal immigrant. At sentencing in October, Debra Kanof, the prosecutor, told the judge that all Mr. Davila wanted to do was go back home to Mexico. "Why didn’t they let him go?" she asked. For a year and a half before sentencing, the same prosecutor kept saying that, all the smuggler wanted to do was surrender. They told the judge that the agents should have let him go because they did not know what was in the van and that it is not their duty to go after drug smugglers.
This is one of the biggest fabricated lies of the trial that the prosecutors told the jury for two days. The jury evidently believed them. (Agent Ramos had taken part in approximately 100 busts and had never hurt anyone before, despite having been assaulted, injured and fired upon many times.) Agent Compean had also been involved in several dozen drug busts. Juarez had never been involved in any busts. Ramos was a 10-year agent, Compean was a five-year agent and Juarez had been an agent for a year and a half. Ramos was nominated for agent of the year in 2005 but the U.S. Border Patrol removed his name from nomination after he was indicted.
Davila surfaced again a month later with the help of his life-long friend, Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez, stationed in Wilcox, Arizona. He reported that he had been shot while trying to cross into the United States illegally on foot. He alleged that he was shot in the back as he fled back to Mexico. He alleged that the agents were trying to beat him up. He also claimed that he knew nothing about the van and the marijuana. After he was offered immunity for his crimes in exchange for his testimony against the agents, he admitted to everything except to having a gun. Davila was also assisted by Homeland Security agent Christopher Sanchez in El Paso, who started an investigation into the case. Somehow, they managed to get Debra Kanof, Chief Prosecutor for Major Crimes with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Justice Department involved. (How or why someone at this level would want to escalate and aggressively prosecute two outstanding BP agents for administrative policy violations is a whole other story.)
Kanof acted swiftly, handing out immunities to anybody who would testify against Ramos or Compean. She also provided the drug smuggler with free medical attention at William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso and free passage back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, not bad treatment for an illegal alien and known drug smuggler. Kanof alleged that the smuggler was an innocent person who was shot by the agents as he ran away from them, fearing the agents were trying to beat him up.
With Ramos and Compean in hot pursuit of this drug smuggler, Davila was forced to ditch his van loaded with 743 lbs. of marijuana. In attempting to escape, Davila assaulted and cut BP agent Jose Alonso Compean and left him on the ground bleeding. While Compean was chasing Davila on foot, Ramos had been trying to catch Davila before he could escape back into Mexico.
Hearing gun-shots and calls for help from his fellow agent, Ramos raced to the scene and found Compean on the ground bleeding. He saw Davila racing towards the Rio Grande, about to cross into Mexico and escape.
Agent Ramos began to chase after the smuggler who had just assaulted his fellow officer. Then the smuggler turned and pointed something at Ramos that he believed was a gun. The time was approximately 1:15 p.m. It was broad daylight. Ramos, fearing for his life and believing that Davila had already been shooting at his fellow officer, took a single shot at the smuggler. At this time, nobody knew that the smuggler had been wounded.
The smuggler turned back towards the border and kept running. He disappeared into the tall, thick brush along the river. Later, Davila was spotted running across the dry riverbed and jumping into a waiting vehicle with two other suspects. This was witnessed by four Border Patrol agents, documenting that Davila was not some "innocent" illegal alien, but a bona fide drug smuggling operator. The three smugglers took off and the agents walked back to the abandoned van where several agents were already searching the van. They discovered the 743 pounds of marijuana.
BP supervisor, Jonathan Richards, who had arrived on the scene, was very angry that the smuggler had gotten away. Richards ordered everyone to report to the station. He also told them to load the 743 lbs of marijuana onto their vehicles and take it to the station.
Richards never went across the canal to investigate the assault or to check on agent Compean. Ramos and another agent, named Yrigoyen later testified they told Richards that Compean had been assaulted. At the station, another agent, Mendez, stated that Compean had cuts on his face and hand. He said this in the presence of Supervisor Richards. This is significant because Richards denied having any knowledge of Compean’s injuries. He therefore never notified the FBI and there was never an investigation in this case. The agents were convicted on the allegations and lies of the smuggler, the fabricated lies of the prosecutors and the fabricated lies of two agents who were handed proffer letters (immunity from prosecution) in exchange for their testimony against Ramos and Compean.
The BP supervisor lied on the witness stand, testifying that no one told him Compean had been assaulted, which is his excuse for never notifying the FBI of this fact. The truth is that he offered Compean medical attention and had asked Compean several times if he was OK. The physical evidence was apparent as Compean was cut and covered with dirt. Richard’s failure to notify the FBI of the assault is the reason why the case was never investigated.
Because of the supervisor’s actions, none of the agents filled out firearms discharge reports. This administrative policy violation could have gotten them a five-day suspension without pay. After checking again on Compean’s condition and asking him if he wanted to file assault charges, according to testimony, Richards then made a statement saying, "If we call the FBI we are going to be here all night doing paperwork. We will never know who the person was that assaulted you although we’ve got the van and the marijuana."
After that, everyone went back to work.
In a dramatic display of overkill, the two BP agents, Ramos and Compean, were arrested by SWAT teams, armed with automatic weapons, at their homes. Ramos was roughed up by the arresting officers, even though he obeyed an order to step out of the house. They then placed handcuffs on him and hauled him away; they did the same to Compean. All of this was done in front of their families, including their young children. Ramos has three boys, ages seven, 11 and 13. Compean has an 11-year-old daughter, a son, approximately three years old and a three-month-old baby boy.
They were charged with attempted murder, indicted, placed under house arrest for eight long months; tried and convicted by overzealous, unethical and vicious prosecutors who were certainly not out for justice, but for reasons that, someday, hopefully, will become clear.
During the 13 months awaiting their trial, Ramos and Compean were offered plea bargains approximately six times. The last offer came five weeks before trial. That offer was for one year in prison and reimbursement to the government for the $35,000 in medical bills for the free treatment of the drug smuggler, which was given by the U. S. attorneys in exchange for his lies.
Kanof continued to pile up counts against them until the agents were facing 40 years to life because of the count stacking. They rejected the plea bargain because they knew they were innocent and they had faith in our country’s legal system. Had they been guilty, they would have taken those plea bargain offers in a heart beat.
The prosecutor, Debra Kanof said that all Davila was trying to do was get back home to Mexico. She said the agents never should have chased him, because they did not know what was in the van (Doesn’t spotting a van crossing the Mexican border into the U.S., illegally count as probable cause to warrant interdiction by the BP?).
The supervisor, clearly under pressure from Major Crimes Prosecutor Kanof, testified that he knew nothing of the pursuit, even though he was one of the first ones to arrive at the scene and had been inspecting the van with several other agents when Ramos, Compean, Yrigoyen and Mendez walked back to the edge of the canal.
At the trial, the drug smuggler claimed that Compean fired 5 or 6 shots at him. During the trial, the prosecution upped that number to 16 shots.
The story Davila told the Justice Department was that he was walking across from Mexico (illegally) when Ramos and Compean tried to beat him up. Although under oath, he changed his story many times during the trial. He finally admitted that he was paid $1,000 to bring the load to an El Paso stash house after he was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony against the two agents.
Davila claimed that he was shot in the back as he fled back to Mexico. The U.S. Army doctor who removed the bullet fragment from the smuggler’s right groin disagreed. Although he was testifying as a government witness, he told the truth and stated, "The smuggler was not shot from behind. He was in a running position, (bladed position) and pointing back with his left arm and hand when the bullet hit his left side of his left buttock and traveled to his right groin.
The prosecution then suggested that he may have been shot as he was running across and not away from agent Ramos. The doctor disagreed and so he was quickly dismissed by the prosecution.
The Bottom Line:
The two agents were sentenced to 11 and 12 years in federal prison, respectively, on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and for violation of the drug smuggler’s civil rights. They were charged with 11 and 12 counts, respectively, because every time they rejected Kanof’s offer to plea bargain, she would become furious and dream up more counts against them.
In less than three weeks, two brave, honest and dedicated young agents, who have risked their lives for many years protecting our border, arresting illegal aliens, human smugglers and drug smugglers, will be sent off to prison, while Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a known drug dealer goes free. It gets worse and I am still working on the trial accounts of this case.
While my family is suffering emotional trauma and financial disaster, this low-life drug smuggler is laughing at the Border Patrol and his unscrupulous attorney filed a $5 million lawsuit in April, 2005 against the U.S. Border Patrol for violation of his civil rights. This was one of the 12 counts that the agents were found guilty of by a misinformed and lied to jury. This conviction almost guarantees the five million dollars for the smuggler and only an exoneration would reverse that huge loss of our taxpayers money.
Meanwhile, the Ramos family is already in debt for more than $115,000 in legal fees. Ramos and Compean have gone 20 months without a paycheck and the families are in dire straights. This criminal drug smuggler has destroyed the lives of two good families, relatives and six small children. Both families have been ruined financially for many years to come. If the president refuses to pardon these agents, we will have to continue raising funds necessary to pay for the appeal to get a new, fair trial.
Johnny Sutton is the U. S. Attorney for the Western District Of Texas and he is also the prosecutors boss in this case. He defends the verdict repeating the lies of the prosecution and the drug smuggler. His statement is identical to the lies of the overzealous, vicious and unethical prosecutor, "Debra Kanof."
It makes me sick just to read his irresponsible fabricated story and lies. When the agents were arrested, Kanof told them that the only reason they were there was because they failed to fill out a firearm discharge report. They then charged them with attempted murder. After interviewing at least 20 persons in El Paso, including attorneys and people that have worked with her and against her, I found that she is well known for her lies and unethical behavior in the courtroom. Her favorite saying is "when we are in that courtroom, it’s my lies against your lies."
Johnny Sutton traveled to El Paso for sentencing and said the following at a press conference afterwards. " We did not arrest the smuggler, but instead gave him immunity because we could not prove that Davila was the driver of the van."
Mr. Sutton needs to be reminded that the smuggler admitted that he was the driver. He testified that he had been paid one thousand dollars to deliver the drugs to an El Paso stash-house. He was wounded. What more proof did you need? Sutton said that Ramos should have yelled, "get down," when he heard shots instead of going to the aid of Compean.
The only living creatures out there are jackrabbits and snakes. There was no one there other than Ramos when the shots were fired. Agent Juarez was parking his border patrol unit, paralled to the canal and across the canal from Ramos when the shots were fired. Sutton did say that the smuggler was a piece of dirt. Our chances for a pardon because of Johnny Sutton, who has lied to protect his prosecutors may be slim due to the following: He was appointed by George Bush. He is a close associate of George Bush. When Bush was Texas governor, Sutton spent five years as his director of criminal justice policy. After Bush became president, Sutton became legal policy coordinator in the White House transition team working with another Bush, Texas colleague, Alberto Gonzalez. Sutton is the chairman of the attorney general’s advisory committee, which plays a significant role in determining policies and programs of the department and in carrying out the national goals set by the president and the attorney general. Sutton’s appointment as U.S. Attorney for Western Texas is further evidence of his long friendship with the president.
Thank you and your fellow congressmen for all your support. With the help of the Lord we will prevail and overturn this: One of the worst miscarriages of justice and betrayal by the U.S. Attorneys that I have ever seen. These two young, brave and dedicated agents are not criminals. They are good husbands and fathers. They have six young children to raise and have done a terrific job of it. They do not belong locked up in a prison cell for doing their job. We have the support of millions of people all over the nation, but only the Congress and the president can overturn this travesty. We pray to God that your efforts will help us. We are now begging the judge to let the agents stay out on bail pending their appeals. They are not flight risks and they certainly are not a threat to society or to our community. They are scheduled to self-surrender January 17 to begin serving their prison terms.
Joe A. Loya
(This letter originally posted by The Federal Observer, January 10, 2007 www.federalobserver.com).
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