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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    Sara Carter: Agents' case prompts call for probe

    http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_4199317)

    Article Launched: 8/18/2006 12:00 AM


    Agents' case prompts call for probe
    Judiciary Committee agrees Border Patrol pair's conviction warrants investigation, hearings

    By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer
    Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

    The House Judiciary Committee Thursday called for congressional hearings and an investigation into the case of two Border Patrol agents convicted of violating an alleged drug smuggler's civil rights.
    Congressional leaders asked for the investigation during a House field hearing about border security and immigration in El Paso, Texas, after Andy Ramirez, chairman of the Chino-based Friends of the Border Patrol, presented his opening statement, which included the agents' story.

    Family members of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, the convicted agents, attended the hearing. The agents, who are free pending their sentencing hearings in September, were not allowed to attend due to the terms of their bond.
    An exclusive interview with Ramos appeared Aug. 6 in the Daily Bulletin. That story was picked up by national wire services and several Web sites, some of which have initiated online petitions to have the agents' case reviewed.

    Contacted Thursday, Ramos said committee chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner's call for an investigation will offer an opportunity to shed light on the incident that led to to the agents' conviction.

    "I thought it was great when I heard it," Ramos said. "It will show that it was a wrongful prosecution. I know it's lifted our spirits tremendously to know that it will be an independent investigation, that people will be looking into this. They're not looking at one side or the other -- the investigators will just be looking at the facts, and they'll see that the prosecution was wrong from the beginning."

    U.S. Attorney Deborah Kanof, who successfully prosecuted the agents, argued the man they were chasing didn't have a gun, that shooting him in the back violated his civil rights, that the agents didn't know for a fact that he was a drug smuggler, and that they broke Border Patrol rules about discharging their weapons and preserving a crime scene. An El Paso jury convicted the agents earlier this year. Each man could face up to 20 years in prison.

    In exchange for his testimony against the agents, the U.S. Attorney's Office granted immunity from prosecution to Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican national who left behind nearly 800 pounds of marijuana when he ran away from the agents after they tried to pull him over in a small Rio Grande border town Feb. 17, 2005. Aldrete-Davila was shot in the buttocks during the ensuing foot chase, and fled back to Mexico. Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and other committee members agreed Thursday that a thorough and impartial investigation into the case should be conducted by the end of the year. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvester Reyes, both of Texas and the only two Democrats at Thursday's hearing, also supported an investigation.

    "The only issue to have bipartisan support from committee members was the announcement for an investigation and hearing," Ramirez said. Ramirez's group presented nearly $3,000 in donations to the agents' families at the hearing.

    Sensenbrenner noted that the committee does not have authority to overturn the court decision, but that given the public outcry about the case, and questions surrounding it, the committee has an obligation to review it.

    The committee will investigate the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing Border Patrol agents, gave $5,000 to each agent Thursday to help the agents' families, who have been financially devastated by the costs of the trial and loss of income, said TJ Bonner, president of the union that represents the agents.

    "I think if this case gets to a proper appellate court, we're going to ensure that the agents get the best possible legal representation," Bonner said.

    Over the past few days, the union has received nearly 600 letters and donations supporting Ramos and Compean. On Thursday, the union's Web site began accepting credit card donations online on behalf of the agents.

    Ramirez said his organization is forwarding all letters of support to the agents' families. As of Thursday, more than 73,000 petition signatures supporting the agents had been collected by grassfire.org, a conservative Web site that plans to present the petition President Bush.

    Claudia Compean, Jose Compean's wife, attended the hearing and said the committee's announcement was welcome news.

    "I am hopeful that the truth will come out so that we can get justice," Claudia Compean said. "It's been hard on everybody, especially my children."

    The Compeans, who have a 2-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, are expecting their third child next month. The family has lost their home and now live with relatives.

    "I wish I could thank everyone in person who has come out in our support," said Claudia Compean. "I appreciate the financial gestures. I know that times are tough for many people, not just us. But the prayers, e-mails and letters are really more than enough. It has made a difference for our family, and it has given us faith."

    Immediately following the hearing Sensenbrenner, Bonner and other committee members met privately with the agents' families.


    Sara A. Carter can be reached by e-mail at sara.carter@dailybulletin.com or by phone at (909) 483-8552.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at http://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  2. #2
    Senior Member sippy's Avatar
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    So when is the drug smuggler going to receive his punishment? I still haven't read anything yet about what will happen to him.
    Unbelievable.
    "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is the definition of insanity. " Albert Einstein.

  3. #3
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Yes, we need a full Congressional investigation of why the Bush administration appears to be working with drug and human smuggling cartels and gangs.

    W
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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