Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, is leading a politically motivated “revenge” prosecution against a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who exposed the results of one of Ritter’s actions during the 2006 election cycle, according to critics.
During the 2006 campaign, agent Cory Voorhis accessed the National Crime Information Center to document Ritter, while the prosecuting attorney in Denver, had reduced charges to release illegal alien criminals who later committed subsequent violent crimes.
Voorhis has now been indicted in Colorado on a federal misdemeanor for that action, and critics say the move is jeopardizing the government’s case against the head of a major Mexican crime family Voorhis investigated for five years.
“This is nothing more than political revenge by Gov. Ritter,” former ICE senior special agent Mike Riebau told WND in a telephone interview.
WND contacted Ritter’s office with a request for a comment, but did not get a return telephone call.
“The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has become nothing more than Gov. Ritter’s personal police force and Ritter is now set on doing whatever it takes to get even with Voorhis,” Riebau charged.
The controversy involves Walter Noel Ramo, aka Carlos Estrada-Medina, an illegal alien that Ritter, while district attorney, allowed to plead to minor charges involving “agricultural trespass,” even though Ramo had been arrested on heroin trafficking charges.
Instead of being deported or indicted on drug charges, Ramo was released in Colorado and went to California, where he committed sexual assault on a minor.
Ritter is upset because Voorhis provided the NCIC information about Ramo to his gubernatorial campaign opponent, Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez, who then conducted his own investigation and began to run television attack ads against Ritter featuring Ramo.
As a result of Ritter’s complaints, Voorhis is now suspended from ICE without pay, facing misdemeanor charges, with a trial currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Denver.
Voorhis, 38, is a U.S. Army Gulf War veteran who was a Border Patrol agent before his 15-year career with ICE.
“Ritter is determined to ruin Voorhis’ stellar career, to bankrupt him in defending himself, and to convict him criminally so as to prevent Voorhis from ever again holding a position of responsibility in law enforcement or for the federal government,” Riebau said.
Also at risk is the pending prosecution of Pedro Castore?a, the kingpin of a Mexican crime family, which for two decades had provided millions of illegal documents to Mexican nationals seeking to infiltrate the United States illegally, authorities allege.
Castore?a was apprehended as a result of a five-year criminal investigation headed by Voorhis.
Castore?a currently is being held in Mexico, fighting extradition. If convicted, he faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years on money laundering charges.
Castore?a may go free, however, if a misdemeanor conviction disqualifies Voorhis from testifying against him as a key witness at trial.
“This was the largest counterfeit document case ever to be worked on in the United States,” Riebau said. “Voorhis and his team dismantled the Castore?a crime family and prosecuting Castore?a is the final chapter to go down.
“The successful prosecution of Castore?a is being jeopardized by Ritter’s vendetta against Voorhis,” Riebau charged. “We are at risk here of losing the results of a 5-year very complicated international criminal investigation that has cost the U.S. government millions.”
Castore?a allegedly ran a document falsifying crime syndicate that operated in 14 U.S. states, producing high quality Mexican drivers licenses, U.S. social security cards, U.S. birth certificates and green cards for illegal aliens, including gang members and known felons.
The investigation required provisional warrants in Mexico requiring the Mexican government to locate Castore?a and arrest him under the U.S. warrants.
“Eliminating Castore?a would be a big blow to his whole organization,” Riebau explained. “Castore?a was like the John Gotti of this crime family. When you knock down the head of a major criminal syndicate, you have the chance to make the crime syndicate dysfunctional.”
Voorhis maintains he was fully within his rights under 5 U.S.C. Section 7211, to provide information to a U.S. congressman.
Title 5 U.S.C. Section 7211 reads, “The right of employees, individually or collectively, to petition Congress or a Member of Congress, or to furnish information to either House of Congress, or to a committee or Member thereof, may not be interfered with or denied.”
Riebau explained to WND that Voorhis felt compelled to correct Ritter’s campaign statements that he was tough on crime and intended to enforce the immigration laws by pointing out Ritter’s practice of allowing illegal aliens who were arrested in Denver to plead lesser crimes so they could be released.
“Voorhis has dedicated his entire career to the enforcement of immigration laws,” Riebau told WND. “He takes his job very seriously. When Voorhis goes to work, he goes to work with a mission. He doesn’t just go to collect a pay check.”
“Knowing what Voorhis is about is important to understand why he felt compelled to bring into the public domain the dangerous public policy practiced by the Denver DA’s office in reducing serious felonies to mere trespass on agricultural land,” Riebau said.
Riebau argued that Voorhis looked at Ritter’s practice as an obstruction of justice.
“Voorhis saw Ritter as aiding and abetting illegal immigrant felons,” Riebau emphasized, “and he was determined to bring Ritter’s abuse of the criminal justice system into the public spotlight.”
“When [he] made the phone call to Congressman Beauprez, he was not acting as a deep throat, he did not use an alias or a pseudonym, and he wasn’t in the shadows,” he continued. “Voorhis felt he was performing a public service by disclosing this practice and he openly disclosed his identity to Beauprez.”
“Voorhis wasn’t hiding his identity,” he continued. “The information he released information to a U.S. congressman Voorhis felt he had every right to release under U.S. law.”
A “Cory Legal Defense” website has been created by a committee organized to solicit contributions to assist the Voorhis legal defense.
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