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WASHINGTON – Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, the Mexican drug smuggler given immunity to return to the United States and testify against two Border Patrol agents, was involved in smuggling a second load of marijuana into the United States after he was given court protection, records have confirmed.
Newly released transcripts of the trial of Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos have corroborated WND reports that the Mexican illegal alien was involved in the second drug case, this one involving a load of marijuana brought into the U.S. in October 2005.
The incident followed his grant of immunity by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton in return for truthful testimony against Ramos and Compean. The former agents are serving 11 and 12 year prison terms for their actions in a Feb. 17, 2005, incident in which they shot Aldrete-Davila as he was fleeing across the border into Mexico.
Activist organizations have made repeated calls for President Bush to pardon the former agents, who, they say, are being punished for doing their duty.
As WND also has reported Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has sponsored a resolution calling for a congressional pardon for Ramos and Compean, and his office confirmed the resolution already has 82 co-sponsors.
The transcripts obtained by WND include a discussion between the agents’ defense attorney, Mary Stillinger, prosecutor Debra Kanof, and Judge Kathleen Cardone, outside of the presence of the jury.
“For instance, let’s just start with – not the October load, let’s start with this load,” Stillinger states matter-of-factly in the discussion.
Stillinger charged Aldrete-Davila lied when he described himself under oath as a drug amateur who only agreed to drive the drugs to a U.S. stash house because of his indigent state.
“But he (Aldrete-Davila) told them (the jury) the story about he’s a little mule, and he needed money for his mother’s doctor bills, and he needed money to renew his commercial driver’s license. He doesn’t know who hired him. He doesn’t know where the stash house.”
Stillinger then argued Aldrete-Davila’s second offense revealed him as an experienced drug smuggler:
“In light of the fact that he (Aldrete-Davila) did it again in October, and he personally took the load to the stash house, I think they (prosecution) know that that’s a lie.”
Stillinger argued Aldrete-Davila’s statement compromised his grant of immunity, which the prosecution had predicated upon Aldrete-Davila telling the truth. Stillinger continued, mocking statements Aldrete-Davila made about himself under oath which Stillinger claimed were lies, given the second drug offense:
“It goes to the scope of his immunity. One is, he was dishonest back then when he said I’m just a poor little mule. Some guy named Chavo, but I have no idea who he is, hired me. I don’t know where the stash house is. Someone was going to meet me and tell me all those things. Those were lies he told back in March.”
The transcript shows that during the trial conference with the prosecution and defense lawyers, the judge talked about Aldrete-Davila’s second offense in an equally matter-of-fact way.
The transcript shows Cardone commenting as follows:
“In other words, all the investigation they’ve (government) done to investigate this case leads up to him (Aldrete-Davila) coming into the country, and then in October committing this second involvement. Okay? But there’s no lying, if that’s what we’re characterizing it as, until the October incident.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., told WND the trial transcript now makes clear “the prime witness against these two Border Patrol agents was involved in another major load of drugs and the prosecution made a conscious decision to keep these facts from the jury.”
At the trial, Cardone ruled Aldrete-Davila was not on trial. She ruled that no reference about the October 2005 drug offense was to be made to the jury, and she sealed all records concerning that offense, despite vigorous defense objections that this information not only violated Aldrete-Davila’s immunity grant but also went to the heart of the defense argument that the smuggler’s testimony was not credible.
Rohrabacher expressed continued outrage that Sutton had decided to grant immunity to an admitted drug dealer so he could prosecute two Border Patrol agents who were trying to apprehend him.
“Once Aldrete-Davila was caught a second time,” Rohrabacher told WND, “it unmasks the indefensible nature of the prosecutor’s decision to go after the Border Patrol agents. If the jury is not allowed to know about Aldrete-Davila’s second offense, then Ramos and Compean did not get a fair trial.”
The revelation also “raises questions whether what we’re talking about here is two honest Border Patrol agents who stumbled across a drug cartel operation and are being punished for coming up against the power of the cartel,” Rohrabacher said. “The second drug incident makes clear that Aldrete-Davila’s profession is drug smuggling.”
Rohrabacher was harshly critical of both Sutton and President Bush.
“What Ramos and Compean got was a screw job from day one by the U.S. attorney’s office in order to send a message to all Border Patrol agents,” Rohrabacher told WND. “The message from Sutton was that the president of the United States makes policy on the border, so don’t get in the way. If you haven’t gotten the message yet, this is an open border.”
He said Sutton was running a “public relations campaign” and charged that his purpose has been to “poison the well of public opinion, calling Ramos and Compean corrupt, when there never were any corruption charges, then suggesting they shot an unarmed man in the back, when we only have (the) drug dealer’s word he was unarmed and the medical evidence is that he was not shot in the back.”
“In the Ramos-Compean case we have lie after lie after lie coming out of Sutton’s office,” the congressman told WND. “And now we’ve got a public relations campaign to protect Sutton because he is a prot?g? of the president and the president doesn’t want to see his career destroyed.”
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, was equally critical of the prosecution.
“It would now appear that Aldrete-Davila was not some innocent, poor migrant mule bringing narcotics into the United States so he could buy medicine for his sick mother,” he said.
“From a reading of the trial transcript, it would now appear that there is at least one more case of bringing drugs into the United States illegally involving Aldrete-Davila,” said Poe.
The Texas congressman also insists the information should have reached the jury.
“If the jury would have heard about this second instance, it certainly would have affected the drug smuggler’s credibility,” he said. “The drug smuggler was the prosecution’s case. This star witness, Aldrete-Davila, had a lot of baggage, no pun intended.”
WND previously reported the prosecution provided Aldrete-Davila with a multiple-use border pass signed by Homeland Security Special Agent Christopher Sanchez, along with his badge number.
WND also had specifically asked Sutton a broadly framed question, whether “there was any second incident of any kind involving Aldrete-Davila.” He responded by denying the prosecution’s star witness was involved in any second drug incident, but the trial transcript now available appears to directly contradict Sutton’s denial.