Thursday, April 05, 2007
Arrest prompts Border Patrol case questions
More claims brought closer to witness in Ramos-Compean prosecution
Posted: April 5, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
An arrest in a drug case involving thousands of pounds of marijuana brought from Mexico into the U.S. is raising anew questions about the prosecution of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who shot at a fleeing drug smuggler in a confrontation in 2005, then were convicted for that shooting and now are serving prison terms of 11 and 12 years.
According to authorities, Cipriano Ortiz-Hernandez, suspected of running a Texas "stash house" where multiple loads of marijuana from Mexico were delivered into the United States, has been arrested and is being held pending trial.
As WND has reported, Cipriano Ortiz-Hernandez already was under indictment on federal drug charges stemming from about 5,000 pounds of marijuana allegedly delivered to his home, mostly in 2005.
Ortiz-Hernandez also has identified Ramos-Compean case witness Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila as the man who delivered 750 pounds of marijuana to that location in October 2005 – while Aldrete-Davila was under a grant of immunity for an earlier drug smuggling operation when he encountered Ramos and Compean, and ended up with a bullet wound.
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Those agents chased Aldrete-Davila while he was trying to smuggle a load of hundreds of pounds of drugs into the United States in February 2005, and Aldrete-Davila was injured when the officers fired at him.
He later was granted immunity for that episode by federal prosecutors, and returned to the United States to give testimony that helped convict the border agents, who now are in prison. However, during his testimony, he portrayed himself as someone who had tried to smuggle drugs only the one time because of his financial situation, and the jury never was told that he had been implicated in the second smuggling operation.
"What is the government going to do now?" Joe Loya, father-in-law of Ramos, asked WND. "According to the criminal complaints WND has already published, Ortiz-Hernandez has admitted being involved with Aldrete-Davila in the second drug incident."
"Now the government is in a dilemma,” Loya said. "Is the government going to give Aldrete-Davila immunity again? If the government indicts Aldrete-Davila, they are going to have to admit that prosecutor U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton allowed Aldrete-Davila to lie in the Ramos and Compean trial when Aldrete-Davila said he was not a professional drug smuggler."
"I'll bet you that Ortiz-Hernandez will put the finger on Aldrete-Davila, just like he did in October 2005 when DEA and Border Patrol first interviewed Ortiz-Hernandez at the Fabens, Texas, Border Patrol Station," Loya told WND.
Sutton's office said because of "ongoing investigations regarding this matter," officials couldn't comment.
"However, we have been clear and unambiguous, Aldrete received immunity only for offenses which occurred on Feb. 17, 2005, and has no immunity or protection for any other crimes that he may have committed. As we have said many times, this office will pursue criminal charges where there is prosecutable criminal activity and competent evidence to prove it," the statement said.
"This statement sounds like we're going to be told next that Sutton's office doesn't have enough information to prosecute Aldrete-Davila for the October 23, 2005, offense Ortiz-Hernandez is charged with committing," Loya said. "Why don't we just send Sutton copies of the Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. District Court criminal complaints we have that substantiate Aldrete-Davila's involvement. How is Sutton going to explain those documents away?"
WND has reported that a Department of Homeland Security investigative report filed by Special Agent Christopher Sanchez on Nov. 21, 2005, documents that Ortiz-Hernandez identified Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila was the person who drove the 750 pounds of marijuana to Ortiz-Hernandez's safe house on October 23, 2005.
WND also has published criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court on March 2 and March 6, 2007, that provide corroboration that Aldrete-Davila was the person who delivered 752.8 pounds of marijuana in a Ford Astro van to Ortiz-Hernandez's home in Clint, Texas, Oct. 23, 2005.
"Let's hope the government investigates the drug smugglers surrounding Ortiz-Hernandez more than they did in the Ramos-Compean case," Loya said. "In Ramos and Compean's case nobody ever investigated the cell phone Aldrete-Davila left in the drug van. We still don't know even today where that cell phone is."
WND has obtained a March 18, 2005, U.S. District Court order of detention issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Norbert J. Garney mandating that Ortiz-Hernandez remain in custody pending trial because he is a flight risk.
The detention order reads that the preponderance of evidence establishes that "the defendant (Ortiz-Hernandez), a citizen of Mexico, without legal permission to remain in the United States, was arrested for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 1000 kilograms of marijuana."
The detention order noted that Ortiz-Hernandez "has strong familial ties to Mexico and has a criminal history which includes a history of failure to appear."
"Now that Ortiz-Hernandez has been arrested and indicted, Ramos and Compean should be released immediately," Loya added. "If Sutton had told the jury about this second October load, the government's case would have been thrown out the window. How would any jury convict Ramos and Compean if the jury knew that Aldrete-Davila, the government's chief witness, was a liar?"
"What the documents show is that Sutton's office let Ortiz-Hernandez operate his safe house for two years after he was first busted for drugs in March 2004," Loya said. "Now it's three years since March 2004 and Sutton is finally getting around to prosecuting him. How many years are we going to have to wait for Sutton to prosecute Aldrete-Davila? How many more loads of drugs does Aldrete-Davila have to bring across the border before Sutton does anything?"
"WND has reported that Ortiz-Hernandez was indicted on March 28, 2007, on three counts of federal criminal drug charges.