This is a printer friendly version of an article from www.washingtontimes.com
To print this article open the file menu and choose Print.
Article published Nov 17, 2007
Shot trafficker arraigned
November 17, 2007
By Sara A. Carter - A Mexican drug trafficker shot by two Border Patrol agents, who later were convicted of the shooting, was arraigned yesterday on numerous smuggling charges in federal court in El Paso, Texas.
Osvaldo Aldrete Davila was charged with conspiring to distribute hundreds of pounds of marijuana in the U.S. between June and November in 2005. He was arrested Thursday at an international port of entry in El Paso.
Aldrete Davila, who admitted to smuggling drugs in a 2005 immunity deal in the prosecution of the Border Patrol agents' case, had been seen entering hospitals in El Paso under federal escort since the October 2006 sentencing of the former agents, sources close to the case told The Washington Times.
He was last seen in El Paso on Nov. 8 for a pre-operative appointment for surgery he was to undergo this week on injuries resulting from the shooting, a source said.
"It is our belief that the U.S. government was paying for his medical treatment," one source said.
Federal authorities denied that Aldrete Davila had entered the U.S. under federal escort several times for medical treatment.
"We have no knowledge or know of no legal authority for him to have been here," said Shana Jones, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, whose office prosecuted the agents.
Mr. Sutton's office would not disclose details about Aldrete Davila's arrest, how he entered the U.S. through a legal port of entry or the reason for his attempt.
Aldrete Davila was the prosecution's star witness in last year's trial of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.
The pair shot Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he fled after having stopped his van near El Paso in February 2005. The smuggler was transporting more than 800 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.
Ramos and Compean, whose case drew national attention, were sentenced last year to 11 years and 12 years in prison, respectively. They are scheduled to appeal their conviction on Dec. 3.
In an indictment dated Oct. 17, Aldrete Davila and Cipriano Ortiz Hernandez, whose Texas home was used as a stash house, are charged with six counts of conspiracy to import and possess with the intent to distribute narcotics in 2005.
"Just as Aldrete's alleged illegal conduct did not excuse the crimes committed by Compean and Ramos, likewise, their crimes will not excuse his," said Mr. Sutton, the U.S. attorney.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council and a critic of Mr. Sutton's prosecution of the agents, took issue with the timing of the indictment.
"Osvaldo Aldrete Davila should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for these felonies two years ago," said Mr. Bonner, whose group represents more than 12,000 Border Patrol agents. "This deliberate and unconscionable delay directly resulted in the wrongful incarceration of two innocent law-enforcement officers."
According to Drug Enforcement Administration documents obtained by The Times, DEA investigators believed they had sufficient evidence to indict Aldrete Davila in late 2005, but their requests to do so were denied by Mr. Sutton's office.
Rep. Duncan Hunter hand-delivered a letter yesterday to President Bush seeking a pardon for Ramos and Compean before Thanksgiving.
"Mr. President, if ever a case merited a Presidential pardon, this is one," the California Republican said. "The U.S. Attorney did not feel it was necessary to tell the jury that the witness, whose truthfulness he was asserting, was already back in the drug-dealing business. This is a fact that was known to the U.S. Attorney but not communicated to the jury."
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, is also calling for a pardon, as well as asking Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and the Senate Judiciary Committee to conduct a full-scale review of the case.
"If Mr. Sutton thinks he's going to escape culpability for this miscarriage of justice by conveniently arresting the drug smuggler two and half weeks before the Ramos and Compean appeal is heard, he is sadly mistaken," said Mr. Rohrabacher.
David Botsford, an attorney for Ramos, said that based on Mr. Sutton's news release and Aldrete Davila's testimony, it appears Aldrete Davila was smuggling "large quantities of marijuana into the United States" with a visa issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
That goes to show that it would have been easier to just kill him instead of wounding him. Not that it has any relevance but the chief of police up here said to me one day that if there was ever an intruder in my home and I was to open fire on him, to make sure he was dead. I believe not breathing was the exact words. Cause I guess it would be his word against mine....I suppose if Bush doesn't give the pardon Thompson will when he is elected president..... :-/
The two loudest sounds in the world are a click when you expect a bang, and a bang when you expect a click.
Two guys doing their best at a difficult, next to impossible job, and this is how they're treated?
I'm totally speechless. Where do these people, like Sutton, come from? From under rocks, no doubt. Sutton can suck my... socks.
__________________ War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.