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Ramos embraces her husband, former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio
Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (Courtesy
El Paso Times)
A team of Mexican drug smugglers unloaded $1 million worth of drugs across the U.S. border, spraying bullets at U.S. Border Patrol agents with automatic weapons, but the agents dared not return fire – as one official said they fear losing their jobs or ending up behind bars like agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
Ramos and Compean are serving 11- and 12-year prison sentences, respectively, for shooting an illegal alien drug dealer while he smuggled nearly 750 pounds of marijuana across the border. They were convicted of assault, discharge of a weapon in the commission of a crime of violence and deprivation of civil rights.
This time drug smugglers wore military clothing and fired “military type” automatic weapons at U.S. Border Patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel in Tuscon, Ariz., on Dec. 1.
The brazen smugglers backed a flatbed tow truck into an 18-foot border fence and unloaded two pickup trucks packed with marijuana into the U.S. as National Guard and U.S. predator surveillance cameras recorded their efforts, and Border Patrol agents were immediately dispatched to the scene.
When the agents attempted to stop the pickup trucks, a Chevrolet Avalanche and a Ford F150, the smugglers began driving back toward Mexico. However, U.S. authorities deflated the truck tires before the smugglers could make it to the other side, the Laguna Journal reported.
Just then, another vehicle was spotted in Mexico, and a sniper began firing an automatic weapon at the U.S. agents.
But agents did not fire back.
According to reports, additional heavily armed smugglers began scaling the border fence and tossing bundles of drugs from the Avalanche pickup truck into Mexico.
The agents refrained from discharging their weapons.
When authorities arrived on the scene, the suspects lit the Avalanche on fire and retreated to Mexico, leaving behind 1,158 pounds marijuana – worth $1 million.
Drug smugglers torched the Chevy Avalanche before fleeing back to Mexico (photo: Laguna Journal)
Registration records revealed the F150 had been stolen in Douglas, Ariz. Mexican police were notified, but they have not arrested suspects.
Many witnesses, including U.S. scientists working in Arizona, report seeing heavily armed illegal aliens crossing border fences in the area. When U.S. agents arrive on the scene, smugglers often pelt them with rocks, strike them with vehicles or fire weapons at them – and agents sometimes face penalties for firing back.
In an incident similar to the Ramos and Compean case, one border patrol agent said he feared for his life after a group of illegal aliens began throwing rocks and concrete chunks at him in August at the San Ysidro border crossing. He fired his weapon and wounded one of the men in the buttocks.
Officials at the Mexican consulate in San Diego criticized the 10-year Border Patrol veteran and demanded the U.S. conduct a full investigation, the San Diego Union Tribune reported. Local police and the FBI investigated the agent.
“Any kind of shooting toward Mexican territory is rejected by the Mexican government,” Consul General Remedios Gómez Arnau warned Border Patrol agents. “They should have waited for response of the Mexican authorities.”
After this month’s incident, an anonymous officer close to the investigation told the Laguna Journal that agents often fear defending themselves because shooting back could mean prison time – just as it did for Ramos and Compean.
“These men are still in prison for doing what many of us think was just doing their jobs as Border Patrol agents,” he said.