From the February 2007 Idaho Observer:

Free border patrol agents Compean and Ramos

From Congressional Record, Feb. 7, 2007

It has been our experience that with criminal convictions a brick wall is erected between the convict and the post-conviction remedies. If power players overseeing the system do not want to let a prisoner go, the wall is insurmountable. But, when power players decide to let a prisoner go, he can be released immediatelyóas if by magic.

The conviction of Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos has angered Americans to such an extent that a comprehensive review of the travesty is now a part of Congressional Record. Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), who is opposed to amnesty, took the floor for a full 60 minutes to review what transpired in this case and to express his indignation. Below are excerpts from his oration on this matter. What he reveals is a litany of lies and conflicted interests that identify ranking government officials as threats to national security. We will skip Rep. Rohrbacherís recounting of the border incident itself, as that was covered in detail last month. What we can determine from this testimony is that the U.S. DOJ is complicit in large-scale narco trafficking, has personal relationships with known narco traffickers and does not view drug smuggling or illegal entry into the U.S. as a crime or a threat to national security. Since we know that President Bush is aware of this situation and has the power to commute sentences, and has made no indication that he intends to do so, one can only assume that the DOJ is merely enforcing his own pet policies of open borders and drug trafficking.

Mr. ROHRBACHER [continued]: At this moment Agents Ramos and Compean, not the illegal drug smuggler, are languishing in a Federal prison serving 11- and 12-year sentences. This is the worst miscarriage of justice that I have seen in my 25 years of public service...

...The book was thrown at our heroes who protect us, while the drug smugglers got immunity. According to the U.S. attorney, Johnny Sutton, a Bush appointee and a longtime friend of the President, Ramos and Compean are not heroes. In fact, he considers those two officers to be criminals, charging them with assault with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm while committing a crime of violence, which carries, of course, a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years, and a civil rights violation.

Sutton claims that he had no choice but to prosecute the two Border Patrol agents because, according to Sutton, they broke the law when they violated these procedures concerning the discharge of their weapons at this fleeing suspect. No. Even if procedures were not followed, Sutton could have granted immunity to the law enforcement officers and thrown the book at the drug smuggler. That was his choice. He chose the side of the drug smuggler and threw the book at the Border Patrol agents. This was an indefensible decision, and now Sutton lies to us and to the American people, suggesting that he did not have a choice, that he had to prosecute. Well, the facts donít back him up. And what happened after this man got away? After the incident the drug smuggler contacted Renee Sanchez, a childhood friend for advice.

Now, why did he contact Renee Sanchez? Because Renee Sanchez happens to be a current Border Patrol agent in Arizona. And instead of turning in this drug smuggler, turning the drug smuggler over to the authorities for prosecution, this law enforcement officer, Agent Sanchez, he is sworn to uphold the laws of the United States, but he chose to personally intervene on behalf of his childhood friend who was a known mule for the drug cartels.

He was also called as a character witness on the drug smugglerís behalf during the trial. Mr. Sanchez contacted the Department of Homeland Security, who in turn decided to open an investigation into the conduct of Ramos and Compean. What? What? You have got a drug smuggler with 750 pounds of narcotics who is being thwarted from making his delivery, and that he complains that he was shot at, and our Government decides to investigate the law enforcement officers. Mr. Sutton had every chance to focus his enormous prosecutorial powers on the drug dealer, but he chose to target the law enforcement officers. He chose to turn a procedural violation into a criminal act rather than prosecuting a career drug smuggler.

As part of their investigation, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General sent a special agent to Mexico to offer the drug smuggler immunity in exchange for testimony against the Border Patrol officers. The smuggler was then brought back to the United States and given free medical care at all taxpayersí expense. Now, one has to wonder if Mr. Sutton, our U.S. attorney, would have even spent one-tenth of that effort trying to find this criminal himself and track him down in Mexico so that he could be extradited and punished for smuggling narcotics into our country. No. No effort was made to do that. Instead, an expensive Herculean effort was made to try to get the Border Patrol agents. Now the drug smuggler is being portrayed as a victim because he swears he was not armed. Our government takes the word of this nefarious character over two law enforcement officers. In short, the initial decision to prosecute the two Border Patrol agents instead of the drug smuggler was indefensible. Period. Suttonís only defense, to cover up this horrendous decision, has been to lie and to demonize the two Border Patrol agents. Well, it just does not jive.

According to that investigative report, Agent Compeanís sworn statement, in his sworn statements he repeatedly stated he believed the drug smuggler had a weapon and felt threatened. The Border Patrol training manuals allow for this type of deadly force to be used when an agent fears imminent bodily injury or death. Both of the officers say they saw this drug smuggler turn and point what they believed to be a weapon in their direction while he was running away. The wound created by the bullet corroborates their version of the events.

So we have the prosecutor, even with the direction of the trajectory of the bullet as indicated by the wound, but the prosecutor is ignoring the fact that it backs up the Compean and Ramos position. During the trial, an Army doctor, a prosecution witness I might add, testified that the drug smugglerís body was bladed away from the bullet that struck him. That is consistent with the motion of a left-handed person running away while pointing backwards, causing his body to twist.

Once again, this corroborated Ramosís and Compeanís belief that the smuggler had a weapon. And that was a reasonable belief considering the smuggler was transporting over $1 million of drugs that day. And I am sure, of course, drug dealers with $1 million worth of drugs are not armed...

Note: Rep. Rohrbacherís statements of fact continue to list the indefensible nature of the DOJís persecution of these men. What we must ask ourselves is what would compel the Bush administration to betray its own for drug smugglers? (DWH)

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