The Department of Homeland Security’s report on the case of imprisoned Border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean notes the drug smuggler they pursued left behind his cell phone, but there appears to be no evidence investigators made any attempt to identify him.
Moreover, the disclosure directly contradicts prosecutor U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s repeated statements that there was no evidence that permitted law enforcement officers to track down the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Adrete-Davila, for prosecution.
The DHS report, which was heavily redacted, notes the discovery of the cell phone as follows:
Aldrete-Davila stated that he had nothing in his hands as he ran toward the international border. When asked if he possibly could have had a cellular telephone in his hands, Aldrete-Davila reiterated that his hands were empty. He advised there had been a cellular telephone in the van, but stated it was left behind. [Agent’s Note: The Form I-44, Report of Apprehension or Seizure, completed by Jose Compean, noted that a cellular telephone was discovered inside the van.
The DHS report failed to include the Form I-44 referred to in the above paragraph.
WND also has obtained a transcript of the testimony of Border Patrol agent Arturo Vasquez at the Ramos-Compean trial. On page 84 of that transcript, Judge Kathleen Cardone of El Paso quashes the defense attempt to discuss Davila’s cell phone.
Mr. Aldrete-Davila is not on trial. And everybody knows he’s got a phone and everybody knows he was transporting the drugs, but, unless we’re getting somewhere that’s got to do with this case, I’m concerned we’re going off …
At that point, the transcript indicates Cardone was interrupted by Prosecutor Debra Kanof. A full transcript of the Ramos-Compean trial has not yet been prepared or released by the U.S. District Court in El Paso.
In his Jan. 19 exclusive interview with WND, Sutton claimed he did not have any way to link Aldrete-Davila to the 743 pounds of marijuana found in the van, except by the smuggler’s own testimony.
Now, if I could prove up the case another way, without using the words of Aldrete-Davila himself, we could prosecute the case. If I had a provable case that Aldrete-Davila had committed other crimes, I could prosecute him.
Sutton’s contention about Aldrete-Davila was that, “We don’t have any evidence.”
The DHS report also makes clear that the agency made no attempt to pursue Aldrete-Davila’s connections to the drug cartels in Mexico.
As the Limited Use Immunity only pertained to the investigation of the shooting incident, Aldrete-Davila refused to provide information on the drug trafficking organization (DTO) that had hired him to smuggle drugs on February 17, 2005. Aldrete-Davila also advised that he did not want to provide information on the DTO for fear of what the DTO might do to him and/or his family, adding that the DTO knew where he and his family lived and worked.
WND previously reported DHS had information independent of Aldrete-Davila’s testimony which had identified him as the perpetrator in the Feb. 17, 2005, incident that led to the imprisonment of Ramos and Compean.
DHS first learned the identity of the drug smuggler through Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Wilcox, Ariz. Sanchez, who had grown up with Aldrete-Davila in Mexico, got the information from his mother-in-law, who had a conversation with Aldrete-Davila’s mother on or about March 5, 2005.
Andy Ramirez, who has been involved with the case as chairman of the Friends of the Border Patrol, contended that if the investigators had the cell phone, they should have been able to track down Aldrete-Davila.
“It’s shocking that Sutton continues to say there was no evidence on the scene against the drug smuggler, then we find out that DHS had Aldrete-Davila’s cell phone all along,” he said.
Ramirez also was critical of Sutton’s office’s choice to interpret the limited use immunity as prohibiting law enforcement from probing Aldrete-Davila’s ties to Mexican drug cartel members.
“If Sutton had just focused on finding Aldrete-Davila through the family connections and the cell phone, he might have had a drug bust that could have blown open a drug cartel in Mexico,” Ramirez told WND. “Instead, Sutton chose to view limited use immunity as giving Aldrete-Davila a free pass on all his drug activities.”
Ramirez also was critical of Sutton’s decision to issue Aldrete-Davila a multiple use border pass.
“I’d like to see the government’s records on how many times Aldrete-Davila was in and out of the U.S. on that ‘gold elite’ government border pass Sutton gave the admitted drug smuggler. Who knows how many more loads of dope Aldrete-Davila brought into the U.S. with that card in his wallet?”
What is most outrageous, Ramirez said, “is that a known doper was given the equivalent of the old Disney ‘E-ticket.’”
Explaining the significance of the government-issued border pass, Ramirez said, “It may not mean much to the average American who has never been to the border, but in El Paso, our U.S. Customs Agents want to thoroughly inspect traffic entering the U.S. from Mexico.
“The problem is that superiors often order agents to cease inspections as they’re more concerned with getting traffic through than checking for dope or weapons of mass destruction.”
Ramirez pointed out that anyone with a government-issued border pass bearing the signature and badge number of a DHS investigative officer would most likely just be waved through the border without inspection.
“All this makes me wonder who the drug smuggler Davila really is,” Ramirez told WND, “and who Davila might have led to, provided Johnny Sutton had been interested in investigating. I can’t figure out why so many high-ranking officials in our government are assisting this known doper and are actively trying to throw members of Congress off the trail by continuing to lie and misrepresent the facts.”