Border Pa­trol agents’ con­vic­tion in shoot­ing riles union chief

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One - By Jerry Seper

TwoU.S.BorderPa­tro­la­gents­fac­ing in prison for shoot­ing in the but­tocks a drug-smug­gling sus­pect should get a new trial be­cause they are “vic­tims of pros­e­cu­to­rial mis­con­duct,” in­clud­ing an un­just grant of im­mu­nity, says the head of the Na­tional Border Pa­trol Coun­cil.

NBPC Pres­i­dent T.J. Bon­ner said ex­on­er­at­ing ev­i­dence was with­held dur­ing the March trial of Se­nior AgentsIg­na­cio“Na­cho”Ramosand JoseA.Com­pean,whosesen­tenc­ing is set for Aug. 22, adding that the agents fol­lowed long-es­tab­lished BorderPa­trolpoli­ciesinthein­ci­dent.

He also said the sus­pect fled into Mex­ico af­ter the shoot­ing but later was given im­mu­nity on drugsmug­gling charges against the agents.

“Thisthingstinksto­high­heaven,” Mr.Bon­ner said. “Iamoutragedand at a loss to ex­plain why there were so many ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in this case. Theon­ly­thingthat is clear is thatthe prose­cu­tors pointed their guns at the wrong guys, the good guys, and they let the bad guy walk. Now they want to send th­ese agents to prison for do­ing their job.

“That of­fends me, and I be­lieve most Amer­i­cans would agree,” he said.

On Aug. 11, two of the 12 ju­rors who­con­vict­edtheagentstoldtheIn­land Val­ley Daily Bul­letin in On­tario, Calif., that they were pres­sured­bypros­e­cu­tor­store­turn­guilty ver­dict­sandtha­tother­jurorssought aquick­ver­dict­be­caus­espring­break to tes­tify wa­saweek­awayandthey­wanted to avoid a long de­lib­er­a­tion.

Os­baldo Al­drete-Dav­ila was wounded as he ran from the agents along the Rio Grande near El Paso, Texas. The agents said he pointed what ap­peared to be a gun at them as­theytried­toap­pre­hend­him.More than800­pound­sof­mar­i­juana,worth $1 mil­lion, was found in the van he aban­doned at the river’s edge.

Al­drete-Dav­ila is su­ingth­efed­eral gov­ern­ment­for$5mil­lion,say­inghis civil rights were vi­o­lated.

A fed­eral jury in El Paso con­victed Ramos, 37, andCom­pean, 28, in March of caus­ing se­ri­ous bod­ily in­jury, as­sault with a deadly weapon, dis­charge of a firearm in re­la­tion to a crime of vi­o­lence and acivil rights vi­o­la­tion. The shoot­ing oc­curred Feb. 17.

Spot­ted in his van near the Rio Grande, records show Ramos gave chase­whileCom­pean­cir­cledaround to head off the sus­pect. When Al­drete-Dav­ila jumped out of the van and ran south to the river, he was con­fronted by Com­pean, who was thrown to the­groundas­thet­women fought. Ramos said he saw Com­pean on the ground and chased Al­drete-Dav­ila to the river, where the sus­pect­sud­den­ly­turned­to­ward­him, point­ing what looked like a gun.

“I shot, but I didn’t think he was hit be­cause he kept run­ning into the brush and then dis­ap­peared into it,” Ramos said. “Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van wait­ing for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

Mr. Bon­ner said that two weeks later, Al­drete-Dav­ila called aBorder Pa­trol agent in Ari­zona to say he was “form­ing a hunt­ing party” to track down and shoot some agents for re­venge. Mr. Bon­ner said the agent, who lived in Mex­ico and knew Al­drete-Dav­ila be­fore im­mi­grat­ing to the United States and be­com­ing a cit­i­zen, ad­vised against the plan and said he would re­port the in­ci­dent to the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tor from the Of­fice of In­spec­tor Gen­eral tracked down Al­drete-Dav­ila in Mex­ico, where he was of­fered im­mu­nity in ex­change for tes­ti­mony. As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Deb­o­rah Kanof, who pros­e­cuted the case, was not avail­able for com­ment on Aug. 15. Dur­ing the trial, she ar­gued it was a vi­o­la­tion of Border Pa­trol pol­icy for agents to pur­sue flee­ing sus­pects.

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