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)

The family of imprisoned Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos was the victim of an attempted hit on their lives this month, as the agent’s wife says someone broke into their El Paso home and filled it with gas, trashing photographs and pummeling their dog.

Just weeks after Monica Ramos spoke with WND about the difficulty of enduring Christmas without her husband, her family returned from visiting Ignacio in prison on Jan 3. While she was away, burglars stole DVDS, a BB gun and cell phone and slashed her couch with a knife.

They even beat her dog and ripped cherished wedding pictures and family photos of their life with Ignacio off the walls, smashing them on the ground.

But the vandalism wasn’t the worst part, Monica revealed in a Jan. 12 BlogTalkRadio interview just before she left again to visit her husband.

“It wasn’t so much that stuff was burglarized or that they actually took much,” she said. “What was really hard was that when we got here, the gas was turned on. It was very intentional in that somebody was trying to hurt us.”

Her son opened the front door and discovered the strong odor.

“Right away he alerted me,” she said. “He started yelling, ‘Mom, don’t walk in. Don’t bring my brothers.’ He said, ‘The gas is on!’ He ran in and started turning everything off.”

Her father, Joe Loya, wrote on his blog, “Thank God no one turned on a light! Monica and her three boys would be gone!”

Monica said she believes the gas was left on for two days.

Her 11-year-old son walked into their home and started crying, ‘Look at our house. Haven’t they done enough?’

Then he said, “Why won’t the president just let my dad come home? This wouldn’t have happened.”

Monica said the incident is still under investigation.

Her older son has also faced troubling circumstances at school due to his father’s imprisonment.

Three months ago, his high school hosted a career day. Border Patrol agents spoke with students about the field.

Monica said one Border Patrol agent stood in front of the student body and said, “I know many of you may have heard about this Ramos-Compean case, and we just want you to know that we got rid of two bad apples. You know, not all agents are rogue agents. They’re not out to break the laws.”

“I thought, ‘Oh my God. Is this propaganda?’ Monica said. “This is what you are using as your hiring technique? Did they not ever think that my son was going to be part of that student body? My son got a lot of heat at school.”

She talked to the school and reported the incident to the Department of Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, Monica said visiting Ramos has become very difficult for her family.

“My husband, the deplorable conditions that he’s in, it’s unheard of,” she said in the interview. “When I go in and I see him, I try to keep him in the highest spirits I can possibly keep him in. It is difficult for him.”

She said Ignacio is in segregation for 23 hours every day, and he’s not allowed out of his cell on weekends.

“I’m surprised that my husband hasn’t accidentally ended up on death row with the way he’s being treated in prison,” Ramos said. “He doesn’t even go by a name any more. He is literally 58079180. He’s a number in the system. It is awful.”

When Monica and her children enter the Phoenix prison, they are extensively searched for weapons and drugs. The family is not allowed to touch Ignacio for more than one second because guards worry that visitors may be giving him contraband.

“I mean, are we for real? He’s in there because he was stopping a drug smuggler,” she said. “And yet my kids have to go through an extensive search when we see him. … We’re not able to have any physical contact with him while we’re there. ”

Monica said Ignacio is enjoying the letters he receives from supporters – especially encouraging ones.

Ramos’ attorney, David Botsworth, told WND a petition for writ of certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and docketed on Dec. 11. Response was due by Jan. 12, but that date has been extended to Feb. 11.

Despite the family’s troubles, they remain hopeful that Bush may still show mercy and pardon Ignacio and Jose Compean before Jan. 20.

“Whatever this week holds for us,” she said, “I just want everybody to know that we genuinely appreciate from the bottom of our hearts everything that everybody has done and continues to do.”

Sign WND’s petition urging President Bush to free U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

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