U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who launched his bid for the Republican nomination for president after he announced no one else was addressing the issue of border security adequately, is calling on President Bush to pardon two former U.S. Border Patrol agents jailed for pursuing and shooting at a fleeing drug smuggler.
Tancredo noted the presidential commutation this week of the 30-month prison term given to former vice presidential aide “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of making false statements about the release of the name of an undercover CIA operative.
“I believe the president should take it a step further and fully pardon Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean,” Tancredo said. “The 11 and 12 year sentences they received were grossly unfair and a result of an overzealous prosecutor.”
He noted that both of the agents are “at risk of violent attacks” while in prison, where they’ve essentially been relegated to isolation because of their former status as law enforcement officers.
“In fact, Mr. Ramos has already been brutally assaulted by violent criminals inside his cell,” Tancredo said. “This not only takes a toll on them, but their families as well.”
He noted that President Bush acknowledged the hardship felt by the Libby family as a reason for his commuted sentence. He also acknowledged the irreparable damage to Libby’s career that resulted from the prosecutorial tactics throughout the course of his case, Tancredo said.
“Mr. Ramos, Mr. Compean and their families are, in many ways, in the same situation. And as such, I hope the president will consider providing the same relief to these men and their families that he did yesterday to Mr. Libby.”
Supporters of the two agents, who reported for the start of their prison terms earlier this year, say the agents were convicted wrongly for protecting the U.S. border against criminals. Their case has become a cause celeb for supporters of strong border security measures.
Authorities built their case against Ramos and Compean on the word of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, who ended up being given immunity to testify against the agents who shot and injured him while he was fleeing from Texas back into Mexico after abandoning a van loaded with more than 700 pounds of marijuana.
WND also has reported Kathleen Cardone, the judge in the Ramos-Compean trial, agreed with prosecutor Debra Kanof’s request to put under seal and keep from the jury all information about Aldrete-Davila’s involvement in the second drug incident, even though the witness had testified that the incident involving the two officers was the only drug deal he’d participated in.
Earlier WND broke the story when Ramos was beaten by fellow inmates when he was placed in the general prison population at the federal facility in Yazoo City, Miss.
According to visitors, Ramos is now in emaciated condition, losing more than 30 pounds while in solitary confinement.
Compean also is in solitary confinement.
A third case that developed involved Texas Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez. He was convicted of violating the civil rights of two illegal aliens when a van they were in tried to run down the deputy and given a year and a day in jail.
He’s been transferred from a Texas prison to a federal facility in another state and placed in the general population, according to his former boss, who believes the officer’s life is in danger.
Don Letsinger, sheriff of Rocksprings, Texas, told WND Hernandez has asked his family to not contact him in the federal prison, saying he fears for his life.
As WND reported, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, who prosecuted Ramos and Compean, also prosecuted Hernandez for injuring two Mexican illegal aliens in a van. Hernandez fired at the van’s tires as the illegals escaped from a routine traffic stop, attempting to run over the officer as they drove away.
Sutton also prosecuted Border Patrol Agent Noe Aleman for lying in his attempt to legally adopt his wife’s three young nieces from Mexico.