January 24, 2007

Border Patrol Agents in prison, illegal alien drug smuggler free and granted immunity: PRESS RELEASE FROM CONGRESSMAN PHIL GINGREY

Posted by D.A. King at 12:47 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

If you are not familiar with the story of two brave border patrol agants going to jail for shooting an illegal alien drug dealer, start here.

Contact: Becky Ruby

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 (202) 225-2059

Gingrey meets with Border Patrol agent sentenced to 12 years in prison for wounding Mexican drug smuggler

“Where are our priorities?”

Agent begins serving prison time today

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey last week met with Jose Alonso Compean, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent sentenced to 12 years in jail for shooting a Mexican drug smuggler attempting to enter the U.S. with nearly 750 pound of marijuana. Compean and his partner, former agent Ignacio Ramon, will begin serving their sentences today.

Gingrey has signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales expressing serious concern over the handling of Compean’s case. The drug smuggler, Osvaldo Davila, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against Compean and Ramon. Compean fired a shot that struck Davila in the rear while Davila was fleeing back to Mexico to escape capture. Compean and Ramon attest that Davila was armed; Border Patrol agents are trained and authorized to use their weapons in such situations.

“Where are our priorities?” asked Gingrey. “We’re turning a blind eye to someone smuggling a million dollars worth of drugs into the U.S., but we’re going to send a Border Patrol agent to jail for doing his job? That is perverted justice. How do we expect to secure our border from criminal immigrants if we jail the men and women tasked with protecting us? There are many troubling aspects of this case, particularly that these agents were convicted on charges from a Mexican drug smuggler who was granted immunity for his testimony. If no one else will act with reason, President Bush himself needs to intervene.”

Attached, please find a photograph of Jose Compean, his wife Patty, and Congressman Gingrey.

Earlier this month, Gingrey signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales expressing deep concern over this case. Below is the text of that letter:

January 8, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Gonzales:

We as Members of Congress remain seriously concerned over the apparent misdirected and overreaching federal prosecution of two distinguished U.S. Border Patrol agents who were doing their job protecting America’s borders from an illegal drug smuggler. We respectfully ask for your immediate intervention in this case and to not oppose a motion filed in court that will keep these men from having to report to prison next week.

There remain several discrepancies in the government’s case against Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean which strongly question whether justice was served. For example, they were convicted mainly on the testimony of a habitual Mexican drug smuggler, who was sought out and given immunity by federal prosecutors to testify. The integrity of this witness must be called into question, but a sealed indictment for drug charges forbade Ramos and Compean from doing so during their trial. Also, there is insufficient proof as to whether or not the drug smuggler was armed that day and in fact threatened Ramos and Compean, forcing them to fire their weapons to protect themselves.

Many of these claims will form the basis of an appeal which attorneys for Agents Ramos and Compean have filed. These agents are not a flight risk nor are they a danger to the community. Because of this and with utmost concern for the safety of these men should they be incarcerated, we ask that you direct your federal prosecutors assigned to this case to not oppose a motion on behalf of the agents that will allow them to remain free on bond pending their appeal.

We believe that the lawful protection of our nation’s borders is of the utmost importance and we should do everything we can to support the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol in pursuing that goal. The prosecution of these agents is viewed by many in the Border Patrol as putting the concerns of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers ahead of our homeland security. It undermines their critical mission to dutifully enforce our immigration laws. By denying justice in this case, we are effectively turning our backs on the Border Patrol and the duty we entrust to them to secure our borders. We therefore respectfully urge your intervention in this matter.


Members of Congress

# # # #

Becky Ruby

Communications Director

Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D. (GA-11)

(202) 225-2059 (direct)

(202) 225-6063 (cell)