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Mexican in Border Patrol Case May Still Face Drug Charges
CNSNews.com ^ | January 26, 2007 | Fred Lucas

Posted on 01/26/2007 10:08:51 AM PST by SwinneySwitch

- The Mexican suspected drug smuggler granted immunity in the controversial - and politically explosive - prosecution of two U.S. Border Patrol agents is not entirely off the hook.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the man at the center of the row over the prosecution and jailing of the two agents who shot the illegal immigrant, confirmed to Cybercast News Service Thursday that there is an ongoing investigation into Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila and others.

Aldrete-Davila had been driving a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana on Feb. 17, 2005, the day border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean shot and wounded him as he fled on foot toward the Mexican border.

Sutton gave Aldrete-Davila immunity from prosecution in that drug-smuggling case in return for his testimony against the pair.

But amid the political row over the case, one allegation has been widely reported but never established: that Aldrete-Davila had subsequently - in October of that same year - tried to smuggle another 1,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States.

Critics have accused Sutton of being so zealous in the prosecution that he offered the Mexican further immunity for this second alleged offense. Sutton has denied this.

Pressed on the matter Thursday, the U.S. attorney worded his response carefully.

"If an allegation of drug smuggling is made, we're investigating it, and that includes the allegation made in this case," he told Cybercast News Service.

"If we have sufficient evidence to prove a case against a drug smuggler - including Aldrete - we will bring it," Sutton added.

"If there is a provable case against Aldrete, we will bring it as we would any other drug dealer," Sutton added. "He does not have immunity for anything other than his truthful testimony."

However, Sutton insisted Aldrete-Davila was neither arrested nor indicted prior to or after the shooting incident, a statement the Border Patrol agents' union contends is false.

"There was no secondary arrest. There was no secondary indictment," Sutton said of the allegation reported numerous times in the media.

This possible second charge did not pertain directly to the case in which Ramos and Compean were sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively for shooting at the illegal immigrant.

But the claim inflamed an already outraged public who questioned why a drug dealer would be set free for even one offense while border agents are jailed.

'Sealed indictment'

Members of Congress have called for hearings on Capitol Hill to investigate the case, while the agents' union, the National Border Patrol Council, is calling for a special counsel independent from the Justice Department to investigate Sutton.

Two resolutions were introduced in the House this month - one to vacate the conviction and sentencing of the agents and another calling on President Bush to pardon them.

The National Border Patrol Council insists there was a sealed indictment against Aldrete-Davila for smuggling the 1,000 pounds of marijuana.

Another individual indicted in that drug seizure was called as a witness for the agents' defense but was not allowed to testify because of a sealed indictment and an ongoing investigation, the union says.

The union further contends that U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials involved in the seizure of the 1,000 pounds of marijuana were not allowed to testify in this Ramos-Compean case because of an ongoing investigation that could have been compromised.

Given the secrecy and gag orders on the case, Cybercast News Service asked the union about its source for the claims about a second drug offense.

"The agents, before they went to prison," said union President T.J. Bonner. "They felt free to talk without being held in contempt of court, because they were going to jail anyway."

Bonner believes the prosecutor is being disingenuous to claim there was no arrest.

"He's just being very cute," Bonner said. "Because the indictment was expunged, he's pretending it was never there."

Sutton stressed that he was limited as to what he could say regarding any ongoing probe.

"There's an allegation that were discussed at the [Ramos-Compean] trial among lawyers that I can't go into beyond that," Sutton said.

"Lawyers for both the defendant and the prosecution who tried the case and the judge had hearings on those cases and rulings were made," he said.

"All decisions about what evidence comes into court was discussed among the lawyers and the judge, and the judge made the rulings about what evidence comes into court in the trial," Sutton said.

He said the character of the smuggler did not alter the fact that the agents had committed a violent crime.

"All of the discussion of bad acts of the smuggler were litigated at trial to determine what was admissible and what was not," Sutton said.

"He was cross-examined for many hours by defense attorneys. The jury was very clearly aware he was a dope smuggler, an illegal alien and a bad guy that runs from the police. That was all clear at the trial," he said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Mexico; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aldretedavila; aliens; borderpatrol; bp; bribe; carny; compean; corruption; ignacioramos; immigrantlist; johnnysutton; overzealous; scotfree; sutton; wod
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To: CharlesWayneCT
read that so-called "rebuttal", and it is easily debunked

Ok, debunk this exert from the rebuttal:

An Army surgeon at William Beaumont Army Medical Center removed a bullet fragment from the drug smuggler's right thigh on March 16, 2005. At 7:45 p.m. that evening, Christopher Sanchez, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General,took Aldrete-Davila and the bullet fragment to his personal residence for the night. This negligent action broke the chain of custody for this vital piece of evidence. The following day, Christopher Sanchez submitted a bullet fragment to the Texas Department of Public Safety for testing. The report concluded that "[t]he copper-jacketed bullet was fired from a barrel having six lands and grooves inclined to the right. The manufacturer of the firearm that fired the copper-jacketed bullet is unknown, but could include commonly encountered models of 40 S&W caliber FN/Browning, Beretta, Heckler & Koch, and Ruger pistols." During the testing of the bullet fragment, the lab technicians destroyed all traces of DNA on it, eliminating the possibility of proving that it came from the drug smuggler's body. These careless actions needlessly cast suspicion on this aspect of the prosecutions case.

51 posted on 01/27/2007 1:00:20 AM PST by Ajnin (Neca Eos Omnes. Deus Suos Agnoset.)
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To: Ajnin

They didn't need DNA from the bullet, it was taken out of his body. Unless you think that Davilas was a body double.

Or maybe the suggestion (and it's only a suggestion here, you've really said nothing about what you were TRYING to prove with this section, other than that someone didn't do good police work) is that they replaced the bullet from his body with a different bullet that would trace back to Ramos.

Except that nobody is disputing that Ramos shot at the guy (and hitting him wasn't a criteria for their criminal charges). And if they switched bullets, they did a lousy job, because the bullet was inconclusive to match with the gun (which again didn't matter because nobody disputes that Ramos shot at the fleeing suspect).

So what exactly is this supposed to "rebut"? What does not having a "good chain of evidence" for the bullet do to the case against Ramos and Compean, which is based on their own testimony that they shot at the guy.

BTW, I'm not even certain anybody was trying to keep a "chain of evidence", nor am I certain that an investigator holding the bullet "violated the chain of evidence" although to my untrained mind it could.

And in fact, the summary of your section spells out the entire problem with the pro-BP crowd: "These careless actions needlessly cast suspicion on this aspect of the prosecutions case."

Except "needlessly" is more to the point "meaninglessly".


52 posted on 01/27/2007 10:33:55 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Ajnin

But Ramos wasn't the only, OR the first, to shoot at him. Compean shot first, 14 times, and never hit him. If getting HIT is what stopped him from firing, he would have fired at Compean. IF getting shot at made him give up and run again, he wouldn't have turned around AGAIN to "point at" Ramos.

And if he wasn't going to shoot, why would he pull the gun at all? Never point a gun if you aren't ready to use it.

You don't have to be bright to know that if you point a handgun at an officer, they aren't going to put down their weapons and run away, they are going to SHOOT you.

And everybody knows that if a drug smuggler points a gun, they are going to shoot. After all, if perps regularly pointed guns at cops without shooting, then the BP agents would have no justification for shooting the guy for simply pointing a weapon at him.


53 posted on 01/27/2007 10:43:23 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

You stated the rebuttal was easily debunked. You haven't debunked anything. Did Christopher Sanchez break the chain of custody of did he not? Did he take the smuggler to his house or did he not? Did the lab destroy the DNA on the bullet or did it not? If none of these statements are true then provide the relevenat facts. This is how you debunk something.


54 posted on 01/27/2007 12:13:10 PM PST by Ajnin (Neca Eos Omnes. Deus Suos Agnoset.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
If getting HIT is what stopped him from firing, he would have fired at Compean.

Not necessarily. It's not a law of physics that you have to shoot back when you are being shot at.

IF getting shot at made him give up and run again, he wouldn't have turned around AGAIN to "point at" Ramos.

According to Ramos and the Doctor that extracted the bullet, Aldrete didn't stop and turn around. His body was bladed which occurs when a person tries to run and shoot at something behind them.

And if he wasn't going to shoot, why would he pull the gun at all? Never point a gun if you aren't ready to use it.

He probably was going to shoot and chose not to for reasons only known to Aldrete.

You don't have to be bright to know that if you point a handgun at an officer, they aren't going to put down their weapons and run away, they are going to SHOOT you.

These people point guns at law enforcement all the time and don't shoot. It has happend to me. It happens all the time on the border. They even come after armed agents with rocks and pointy sticks. Ramos' story is entirely plausible.

And everybody knows that if a drug smuggler points a gun, they are going to shoot.

There all kinds of reasons why a smuggler might not shoot. Campeanos stated that he saw a gun. All he needed was to see the gun, he didn't have to wait until Aldrete started shooting at him. I imagine that getting shot at changed Aldrete's mind about shooting at Campeanos.

After all, if perps regularly pointed guns at cops without shooting,

It happens all the time.

then the BP agents would have no justification for shooting the guy for simply pointing a weapon at him.

All these situations are not the same. The main ingredient here is fear of one's life or that of another. In the Ramos/Campeanos case the events happened very quickly. They had split seconds to make a decision, shoot or don't shoot. They percieved a threat and feared for their safety and took action before Aldrete could fire. It's rediculous to expect Ramos and Campeanos to wait to be shot at first before they return fire. In my case I chased a smuggler back across the border. They were in a Suburban and they were about 100 yards away. The passenger leaned out of the window and pointed a gun at me. Since they were so far away and in a moving vehicle, I didn't feel they could hit me even if they shot first. In addition I had plenty of time to get cover, arm myself with a scoped M4 and prepare for an attack. Even though I could have justified shooting the passenger I didn't do it because I wasn't in fear of my life. I also had plenty of time to react which is something that Ramos and Campeanos did not have.

55 posted on 01/27/2007 1:07:51 PM PST by Ajnin (Neca Eos Omnes. Deus Suos Agnoset.)
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To: Ajnin

What did they rebut?


56 posted on 01/27/2007 2:16:29 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: SwinneySwitch
Witnesses for the defence not being allowed to testify sounds like grounds for appeals.

Not allowing a suspect in another alleged crime to testify because of that investigation denies due process to these BP agents, does it not?

Other BP agents not being allowed to testify on behalf of the BP agents because it might jeporadize another investigation denies due process to these BP agents, does it not?

I don't trust Sutton (Bush's boy from his Texas days) or this AG or his Justice Dept. on matters regarding our borders or immigration. Or little else for that matter.

57 posted on 01/29/2007 7:38:01 AM PST by citizen (Bi-Partisan (Dims+Bush) Amnistia coming soon to a nation near you. "We don't need no stinkin' fence")
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