Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas
The Mexican Consulate played a previously undisclosed role in the events leading to U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s high-profile prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving 11 and 12 year sentences for their role in the shooting of a drug smuggler, according to documents obtained by WND.
And Mexican consular officials also demanded the prosecution of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez, who subsequently was brought to trial by Sutton, the documents reveal.
Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas – among a number of congressman who have fiercely opposed the prosecution of Ramos and Compean – told WND he has “long suspected that Mexican government officials ordered the prosecution of our law enforcement agents.”
“Mexico wants to intimidate our law enforcement into leaving our border unprotected, and we now have confirmation of it in writing,” Culberson said.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, was equally outraged.
“The Mexican government should do more to keep illegals from Mexico from crossing into the United States, especially drug dealers, rather than be concerned about our border agents,” he told WND. “The U.S. Justice Department should not be working for the Mexican government.”
The White House and Sutton’s office in El Paso, Texas, did not respond to calls from WND asking for comment.
Hernandez’s attorney Jimmy Parks of San Antonio, Texas, told WND the documents “prove that it is wrong for my client to be in jail.”
“The prosecution of my client sends a wrong message to criminal illegal immigrants who are being tempted to cross our borders with impunity,” he said.
WND has obtained a copy of a letter written April 18, 2005, by Mexican Consul Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes in Eagle Pass, Texas, demanding Hernandez be prosecuted for injuring a Mexican national, Marciela Rodriguez Garcia.
The first two paragraphs of the letter set out the facts of the case as understood by the Mexican consul. The letter is reproduced here as written:
I am addressing to you, regarding the case of the Mexican national, Ms. MARICELA RODRIGUEZ GARCIA (DOB 4-11-1979), who based on the information obtained by this Consulate, received a gunshot wound by an agent of the Sheriff Department of Edward County, that caused injuries in her face.
As far aw we know, last April 15, 2005, the Mexican national was transported in first insistence to Val Verde Hospital in Del Rio, Tx, and then to San Antonio, Tx., where she was attended at the University Hospital. Today, Mr. Gabriel Salas a member of the staff of this office had the opportunity of interviewed Ms. RODRIGUEZ who confirms the facts of the incident.
The final two paragraphs contain the demands of the Mexican consul:
Based on the Consular Convention between Mexico and the United States and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Consulate of Mexico is entitled to represent, protect and defend the rights of Mexican nationals in this country. Therefore, I would like to point out, that is the care of my Country that this kind of incidents against our nationals, do not remain unpunished.
According to the information provided above, I would appreciate your kind assistance, so this Consulate can be informed of the current investigation, and your support, so you present and file a complaint with the necessaries arraignments.
WND has learned the Mexican consul addressed separate copies of the letter to the following parties:
- Don Lettsinger, Sheriff, Edward County, Rocksprings, Texas
- Norman Townsent, Supervisor Senior Special Agent, FBI, Laredo, Texas
- Bobby Smith, Texas Rangers, Del Rio, Texas
- Fred Hernandez, District Attorney, Del Rio, Texas
- J.A. Garcia, Attorney at Law, San Antonio,Texas
- Lieutenant Ger?nimo Guti?rrez Fern?ndez, Subsecretario para Am?rica del Norte
- Minister Miguel Guti?rrez Tinoco, Director General de Protecci?n y Asuntos Consulares
- Emb. Arturo Aquiles D?ger G?mez, Consultor Juridico
- Emb. Carlos de Leaza, Embajador de M?xico, Washington, D.C.
- Emb. Martha I. Lara, C?nsul General de M?xico, San Antonio, Texas
WND also has learned that on April 29, 2005, Sheriff Lettsinger in Edwards County advised that the Texas Rangers met with the district attorney in Del Rio and was told the state of Texas had been removed from the Hernandez case because the FBI and the federal government were taking over.
The Mexican national Rodriguez was in a Chevrolet Suburban van full of illegals that attempted to run over Hernandez after he had stopped the vehicle for running a stop sign April 14, 2005, in Rocksprings, Texas. Firing his weapon at the rear tires, a bullet fragment hit Rodriguez in the mouth, cutting her lip and breaking two teeth.
Hernandez, convicted of felony civil rights violations, is incarcerated in a Del Rio prison waiting sentencing.
In the case of agents Ramos and Compean, WND has obtained notes made by a congressional staff member who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with three investigators from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office.
The staff member’s notes indicate the Inspector General’s office briefed the congressmen that the Mexican consul had also intervened in the Ramos and Compean case.
According to the notes obtained by WND, the congressmen were told:
Several weeks later (after the February 17, 2005 event near Fabens, Texas), the Mexican Consulate contacted the U.S. Consulate in Mexico saying that they have a person who claims to have been shot by a Border Patrol agent. On March 4, 2005, the U.S. Consulate contacted the U.S. attorney.
DHS investigative reports filed by Special Agent Christopher Sanchez document that March 4, 2005, is the date on which DHS initiated the Ramos-Compean investigation.
WND can find no evidence the Border Patrol, DHS, or U.S. Attorney Sutton had started any investigation of Ramos or Compean concerning the events of Feb. 17, 2005, prior to March 4, 2005.
“The Mexican government should not be dictating United States border policy,” Poe told WND after learning of the Mexican consul’s involvement in both cases.
“We have it in writing,” he told WND, “a letter from the Mexican Consulate in the case of the deputy sheriff from Edwards County and verbal confirmation of the Mexican Consulate’s complaint in the case of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean.”
Culberson told WND it is “outrageous and unacceptable that our government is prosecuting U.S. law enforcement officials at the request of the Mexican government.”
The congressman said the revelations suggest national security may be at risk:
“U.S. national security interests in the war on terror must determine how we protect our border, not the opinions of the Mexican government,” he said.
Culberson called for a congressional investigation, telling WND, “We’ve now got to find out how many other Mexican government complaints have led to the prosecutions of our law enforcement officers on the border, and this intimidation must stop.”
Previous accounts in question
Sutton’s claim he learned about the identity of the drug smuggler in the Ramos-Compean case, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, through consular contacts originating in Mexico apparently contradicts his explanation in an exclusive interview with WND Jan. 19, Sutton said his office learned the identity of Aldrete-Davila from a lawyer in Mexico representing the drug smuggler.
WND: So, Aldrete-Davila ran away, and as you say, at the time you didn’t have any basis to know who he was and there were no fingerprints. But yet, you found the guy. If you found the guy to give him immunity, why couldn’t you have found the guy to punish him?
SUTTON: The way we found him is that he came forward and was in Mexico with a lawyer. So, the only way to get him to testify was to give him immunity from being prosecuted. He wasn’t going to agree to come to the United States, he wasn’t going to agree to talk, unless he had some kind of immunity from being prosecuted for that load. So, that puts the prosecutor in the terrible choice of everyone goes free, we got no case against the dope dealer, we cannot make a case against the dope dealer because there’s no evidence, thanks to agents and other factors.
Sutton’s account also appears to contradict the March 14, 2005, memo from Special Agent Christopher Sanchez which claimed the government learned Aldrete-Davila’s identity from Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez in Willcox, Ariz.
As WND reported, Christopher Sanchez’s memo had claimed Rene Sanchez and Aldrete-Davila grew up together in Mexico. Rene Sanchez, the memo said, learned Aldrete-Davila was the drug smuggler involved in the incident with agents Ramos and Compean after his mother-in-law had a phone call with Aldrete-Davila’s mother in Mexico.
The memo also indicates the shooting was reported to the Mexican Consulate.
Rene Sanchez said that his mother-in-law Gregoria Toquinto went to Mexico to help her friend Marcadia take her son Osbaldo to the Mexican Consulate to report the shooting incident. However, Osbaldo declined to go. Marcadia advised Toquinto that Osbaldo did not want to report the incident, because he had actually been transporting a load of marijuana and was afraid the Mexican and/or U.S. authorities would put him in jail.
Staff notes WND obtained from the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting Poe, Culberson and two other Texas Republican congressmen had with three investigators in the Inspector General’s office indicate the Mexican Consulate knew all about Aldrete-Davila. That conflicts with Sutton’s claim the drug smuggler was so concerned about prosecution he was afraid to talk to the Mexican Consulate.
It also contradicts the DHS Report of Investigation released by Assistant Inspector General Elizabeth Redman to Congress in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Poe. On a page numbered as “4 of 33,” the DHS report appears to have a heavily redacted version of the Rene Sanchez mother-in-law story.
Redman was one of three DHS investigators who attended the Sept. 26, 2006, meeting with the four Texas Republican congressman. The other two investigators were identified to WND as Tamara Faulkner and James Taylor.
As WND reported, DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner admitted under oath Feb. 6 that Redman and the other investigators had misled the Texas congressmen. Skinner was responding to questioning by Culberson before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
Skinner admitted, contrary to previous claims, DHS did not have investigative reports that would prove Ramos and Compean were rogue Border Patrol agents who told investigators they were “out to shoot some Mexicans” the day of the incident with Aldrete-Davila.
Culberson since has called for the resignation of the investigators.
The Mexican consul’s role in revealing the identity of Aldrete-Davila also conflicts with prosecutor Debra Kanof’s opening statement to the jury in the Ramos-Compean trial.
According to a copy of the statement obtained by WND, Kanof explained the following to the jury Feb. 21, 2006:
Rene Sanchez is stationed in Willcox, Arizona. He’s actually from El Paso. And sometime in the last couple of days of February he got a phone call from his mother-in-law. And his mother-in-law lives in Mexico, in a little town on the outskirts of Juarez. And she told him that she had been talking to a friend of hers, a girlfriend of hers, and that that girlfriend had told her that her son, the girlfriend’s son, had been shot in back by a Border Patrol agent outside of El Paso, Texas, somewhere near San Elizario.
From there, Kanof explained how Rene Sanchez investigated.
So Rene Sanchez investigated. He made some phone calls to people he knew in El Paso and asked if there was a shooting.
First he needed to find out, however, when that occurred and approximately where it occurred. So he immediately reported it to his supervisor in Willcox, Arizona, who told him to get more information, which he did by calling his mother-in-law. And he instructed his mother-in-law to take a cell phone – his mother-in-law actually lives in El Paso – to take a cell phone to Mexico, give that cell phone to the individual who was shot, and have them call me, so I can get some facts. And that, he did.
The individual who shot is an individual by the name of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. And Rene Sanchez spoke with him on the phone, and he gave him information about what occurred that day.
Kanof said nothing to the jury suggesting the information about Aldrete-Davila actually came from the Mexican consul, who contacted the American Consulate in Mexico, who in turn contacted DHS and prosecutor Sutton’s office.
While Ramos and Compean are in federal prison, Aldrete-Davila has found an American lawyer and plans to sue the Border Patrol for $5 million for allegedly violating his civil rights.