The father-in-law of Ignacio Ramos, one of two U.S. Border Patrol agents sent to jail for shooting at a fleeing drug smuggler, is crediting WND founder and editor Joseph Farah with raising the issue of the sentences to the point they were suspended by commutations announced by President Bush today.
“We can only thank Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi and the staff at WorldNetDaily because from the beginning you have been with us and you never gave up on the case,” Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in-law, said today. “Your reporting had a lot to do with the decision today by President Bush to commute the sentences.”
Bush’s administration announced the commutations on the president’s last full day in office. The former border officers are expected to be released from the rest of their 11- and 12-year prison terms about March 20.
“Thank God for this commutation,” said Joseph Farah, editor of WND, who launched a petition and letter-writing campaign that re-energized the Ramos-Compean issue in the last 30 days of Bush’s term. “This will end the sleepless nights for their wives and children. This is the first step toward making these families whole, again.”
Farah’s petition collected more than 40,000 signatures by the time today’s announcement was made, and the letter campaign produced more than 3,000 FedEx letters to the White House.
The petition described how the agents were “serving outrageously long prison terms for shooting and wounding, in the line of duty, a fleeing illegal alien drug smuggler trying to bring almost 800 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.”
An official who was not identified because clemency decisions rarely are discussed said, “These were law enforcement officers and they have the highest obligation to obey the law, and have to be held to accountable when they breech their responsibilities.”
Bush decided against a pardon because he felt punishment was appropriate, but he remained concerned that the punishment was too severe, the official said.
The border agents were arrested after a high-speed chase when smuggler named Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila abandoned a van holding just under 800 pounds of drugs.
According to reports, the agents shot him as he ran away, but they didn’t report the shooting as regulations required.
Aldrete-Davila, who was given immunity by the government to testify against the agents, participated in another drug delivery in the U.S. while under immunity and now is serving nine years for that case.
Congress already has begun considering a proposal calling for pardons for the two.
“Although our case received attention before we reported to prison, I truly believed people would forget all about us. Once we reported to prison, I was very happy to see how wrong I was. I have received thousands of letters from people all over the country. I have also received letters from other countries such as Italy and even a few from soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he wrote.
“These last two years have been very hard for my family and me. This has affected us in so many different ways. We have lost two years of our lives that we will never get back,” he continued.
“Thank you again for everything you have done to help. Words are not enough to express how grateful my family and I are.”