freed from prison
Congressman calls for probe
of prosecutor, role of Mexico
Posted: February 17, 2009
1:16 pm Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
Jose Compean with his wife, Patty, talking to reporters prior to his prison sentence
Convicted former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were released from federal prison this morning and are en route to join their families in El Paso, Texas.
Characterizing Ramos and Compean's incarceration as a "political prosecution," Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, called for a congressional investigation into alleged prosecutorial misconduct by El Paso U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton under the direction of Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Poe also called for an investigation into the alleged role of the Mexican government in demanding that Ramos and Compean be prosecuted.
"As soon as President Bush commuted Ramos and Compean's sentences, the Mexican government registered a large protest," Poe noted.
"In their protest, the Mexican government admitted their involvement in the case without specifying what their involvement was," he added.
"So I think the first order of business is for the U.S. Congress to investigate what role the Mexican government had in demanding the Bush administration prosecute this case," he insisted. "Mexico should not be meddling into U.S. criminal cases."
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Poe also told WND his office intends to petition President Obama to pardon Ramos and Compean in the administration's first round of presidential pardons
After serving two years in federal prison in solitary confinement for shooting a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler who had brought 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., Ramos and Compean are being released into home confinement until March 20, the end of their commuted sentences.
As WND reported, the agents' original sentences of 11 and 12-years respectively were commuted by President Bush on his final full day in office, Jan. 19.
Until March 20, both are restrained from speaking with the press. After their release from home confinement, Ramos and Compean will be on "supervised release," similar to "probation," for a period of up to three years.
Ramos was incarcerated in Phoenix and Compean in Elkton, Ohio.
"At last, Ramos and Compean have been rightfully reunited with their families," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., another member of the House of Representatives at the forefront of the fight to free the men. "I wish the Ramos and Compean families the best as they now try to pick up the pieces and begin to heal from this terrible ordeal."
Poe charged Ramos and Compean "were incarcerated as political prisoners of our own country."
"Both Border Patrol agents were doing their jobs on the border," he told WND.
Poe had harsh words for prosecutor Sutton and Attorney General Gonzales.
"Our own government took the side of the drug dealer, found him in Mexico, brought him back and treated his wound at taxpayer expense," the congressman said. "The government made a back room deal with the drug dealer by telling him that in exchange for his testimony against Ramos and Compean, he would be given immunity for that offense."
Poe charged that Sutton's office intentionally misled the jury at the trial.
"The prosecution misled the jury and the American public by not allowing the jury at the Ramos and Compean trial to know that the government had reason to believe the drug smuggler in the case, (Osvaldo) Aldrete-Davila, had been implicated in a second drug smuggling incident before the trial began," Poe stressed.
WND was among the first to report that Aldrete-Davila committed a second drug offense, smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while he was given immunity by Sutton's office and in possession of a border-pass card authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.
WND also reported Aldrete-Davila was arrested for the "second load" on Nov. 15, 2007, and subsequently pleaded guilty to federal drug smuggling charges and was convicted to federal prison for a 57-month sentence.
"Then the government went on a nationwide Madison-avenue public relations campaign trying to justify their prosecution in this case," Poe said. "The government has never done this in any other case that I can recall."
WND published word-for-word Jan. 20, 2007, an exclusive interview with Sutton, in which he attempted to justify his office's decision to prosecute Ramos and Compean.
Subsequently, Sutton appeared on many national radio and television shows, attempting to convince the American public to accept the Bush administration's version of the case. Sutton contended Ramos and Compean were "rogue cops" who shot after an unarmed fleeing Mexican who was only trying to surrender and that the agents subsequently tried to hide evidence of the shooting at the scene and failed to report the incident to their superiors.
"Most of the American public and most members of Congress think the sentences Ramos and Compean received were way over the top," Poe said.
WND was also among the first to report Ramos and Compean were charged under the "wrong law," U.S.C. Section 924(c) that imposes a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence on a person using a weapon in the commission of a federal crime.
"That gun law as never designed by Congress to apply to police officers," Poe said. "This is the only case since that law was passed that applied the law to law enforcement agents."
Poe said he and several members of the House plan to introduce new legislation designed to specify U.S.C. Section 924(c) does not apply to law enforcement officers.
A statement released by David Botsford, legal counsel for Ramos, strongly criticized the government's decision to prosecute his client under U.S.C. Section 924(c).
"Mr. Ramos, who has been in custody since January 17, 2007, was subjected to conditions more onerous than those imposed upon the foreign detainees in Guantanamo Bay," Botsford said in a statement released from his office in Austin, Texas.
Ramos, Compean freed from prison