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)
President Bush today added a convicted methamphetamine dealer, a cocaine distributor and two marijuana suppliers to the list of drug operators he’s pardoned while in office, bringing his total of drug suppliers who have been pardoned or had their sentences commuted to 36.
He’s also pardoned more than a dozen thieves, seven embezzlers, an arsonist, several mail thieves, a man who violated the Neutrality Act and eight Thanksgiving turkeys, but there’s been no clemency for U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were convicted of shooting at a fleeing drug smuggler.
Andy Ramirez of Friends of the Border Patrol, who long has been involved in the Ramos-Compean case, said the questions just start piling up.
“First and foremost is the question that has to be asked, ‘Why is the president dug in so deep’ on Ramos and Compean?” Ramirez said. “Look at how many members of Congress have sent him letters, and have held hearings.
“You really have got to start to wonder … does this doper (in the Ramos-Compean case) lead to somebody really big?” he said.
Joe Loya, the father-in-law of Ramos, said he, his daughter and grandchildren were “devastated” by word that Ramos and Compean had been denied clemency on the latest list of presidential actions.
“We were praying for a miracle. We just don’t understand where the connection is when drug smugglers are getting pardons and commuted sentences, yet two agents who are not criminals, who were just doing their jobs, are in isolation,” he told WND by telephone as he traveled to visit his son-in-law in jail on Christmas Eve.
“George Bush could redeem himself,” he continued. “Ninety-five percent of our support is coming from Republicans. He certainly has nothing to lose.
“He could make millions of people feel good about it, or he could make one person (prosecutor) Johnny Sutton,” Loya said. “We hope he will do the right thing.”
Bush today released a list of 19 more pardons or commutations. Included was a commutation of the life prison term for Reed Raymond Prior of Iowa, convicted of dealing methamphetamine. Pardons were handed out to William Alvis III of Ohio for cocaine distribution, Steve Doyle Cavender of Florida and Marie Elena Eppens of Washington for distributing marijuana.
Prior had admitted having methamphetamine with plans to distribute it following three prior felony drug convictions. Bush has approved 10 commutations and about 200 pardons in his two terms, about half the number granted by Bill Clinton.
Ramos and Compean, meanwhile, 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.
U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s office gave the smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, full immunity from prosecution for agreeing to serve as the government’s star witness and testify against the border agents. A ruling, from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals, affirmed all convictions except for tampering with an official proceeding, which it vacated and remanded for resentencing.
While Aldrete-Davila was waiting to testify against the agents, he also was involved in another drug smuggling case, but that information was withheld from jurors in the Ramos-Compean trial.
Eventually, the smuggler was sentenced for the second case, but his sentence was considerably shorter than that of the agents who tried to halt his activities in the earlier episode.
Ramos’ attorney, David Botsworth, said a petition for writ of certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and docketed Dec. 11. The government has the right to file a response should it choose to do so by early January.
“It’s obviously an astronomical uphill battle to get review in the Supreme Court,” Botsworth said. “I think the issues are worthy of their consideration.”