Border

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One -

Ramos and Com­pean is an in­di­ca­tion of how our gov­ern­ment will re­pay them, we can be cer­tain good men and women will soon flee the ranks of Border Pa­trol ser­vice.”

Ramos, a 10-year Border Pa­trol vet­eran and for­mer “Agent of the Year” nom­i­nee, and Com­pean, a five-year mem­ber of the agency, were sen­tenced in Oc­to­ber in fed­eral court in El Paso on charges of caus­ing se­ri­ous bod­ily in­jury, as­sault with a deadly weapon, dis­charge of a firearm in re­la­tion to a crime of vi­o­lence and a civil rights vi­o­la­tion.

The con­vic­tion came af­ter the smug­gling sus­pect, Os­baldo Al­drete-Dav­ila, was lo­cated in Mex­ico by De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity in­ves­ti­ga­tors and was given im­mu­nity by U.S. prose­cu­tors against any drug charges in ex­change for his tes­ti­mony against the agents.

“How will my chil­dren cope with this?” Patty Com­pean asked re­porters as her hus­band pre­pared to turn him­self over to fed­eral au­thor­i­ties. “My hus­band is a good man and a good fa­ther. Some­times I just don’t know how this all hap­pened.”

The White House two weeks ago re­fused a re­quest by Repub­li­can House mem­bers to keep the two men out of prison pend­ing their ap­peal. Bush spokesman Tony Snow said that the case against the agents had been mis­char­ac­ter­ized, that they had vi­o­lated reg­u­la­tions and that they had been con­victed by a jury.

The two men sur­ren­dered af­ter U.S. Dis­trict Judge Kath­leen Car­done, who heard the case, de­nied a mo­tion that they re­main free on bond pend­ing an ap­peal to the 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in New Or­leans for a new trial.

“Be­cause de­fen­dant has been con­victed of a crime of vi­o­lence, he is el­i­gi­ble for re­lease pend­ing ap­peal only for ex­cep­tional rea­sons,” Judge Car­done said in deny­ing the mo­tion. “The court finds that no ex­cep­tional rea­sons ex­ist in this case.”

Both men were hand­cuffed and taken to the county jail for two weeks to a month un­til they can be trans­ported to their as­signed fed­eral pris­ons. Ramos is ex­pected to be housed in Mis­sis­sippi, while Com­pean will be in­car­cer­ated in Ohio.

Last month, Mr. Rohrabacher an­nounced a pe­ti­tion drive call­ing for the com­mu­ta­tion of the sen­tences. His spokes­woman, Tara Set­mayer, said that more than 252,000 sig­na­tures were col­lected and that the pe­ti­tion was pre- sented last week to the White House.

The im­mu­nity agree­ment pro­tected Al­drete-Dav­ila from be­ing charged in the United States with drug smug­gling. Ramos and Com­pean found 743 pounds of mar­i­juana in the van he aban­doned near the Rio Grande along the border with Mex­ico.

Al­drete-Dav­ila was shot af­ter he il­le­gally en­tered the United States near Fabens, Texas, and re­fused ef­forts by the agents to stop his ve­hi­cle. Court records show he jumped from his van and ran south to the Rio Grande, where he was con­fronted by Com­pean, who was knocked to the ground.

Al­though wounded, Al­dreteDav­ila man­aged to cross the border and es­cape in a wait­ing van.

The gov­ern­ment’s pros­e­cu­tion be­gan af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tor from the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity’s Of­fice of In­spec­tor Gen­eral lo­cated Al­drete-Dav­ila in Mex­ico. The in­ves­ti­ga­tor had been dis­patched af­ter the sus­pect’s mother com­plained to a Border Pa­trol agent in Ari­zona that her son had been shot.

As­so­ci­ated Press

For­mer Border Pa­trol agent Ig­na­cio Ramos (cen­ter) waited to turn him­self over to U.S. au­thor­i­ties in El Paso, Texas.

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