Jesus Diaz Jr.
Congress needs to hold hearings to uncover why U.S. law enforcement officers are being charged, prosecuted and sent to prison – apparently for doing what their jobs require – according to an officers’ advocate who has taken up the defense of the latest U.S. Border Patrol agent to come into the crosshairs of federal agencies.
“We join Congressman Duncan Hunter’s call for congressional hearings to examine not only the prosecution of agent Chito Diaz but also this apparent misconduct that has led to our uncovering this pattern of prosecutions of law enforcement officers, terminations, and security compromises involving the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and State, as well as the courts of the Western District of Texas where these prosecutions have been so prominent,” President Andy Ramirez of the Law enforcement Officers Advocates Council told WND today.
The newest case his organization has taken on is the arrest and sentencing of Border Patrol Agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz for lifting the arms of a drug smuggler while he was handcuffed.
“It’s amazing to think that the federal government and the Justice Department in particular, under your leadership, continued with a case against one of our nation’s own Border Patrol officers that ended with an excessive two-year prison term for restraining a smuggler,” Hunter wrote.
“The incident involving Agent [Jesus] Diaz would have been far better suited for an administrative decision on the part of his immediate superiors. It’s certainly not worthy of such a disproportionate prison term,” he continued. “After what happened with [Ignacio] Ramos and [Jose] Compean, and now with the details of Operation Fast and Furious coming to light, the case against Agent Diaz is troubling.
“I believe you owe it to the men and women of our nation’s Border Patrol and other law enforcement to set the record straight and explain why a two-year prison term is an appropriate punishment for Agent Diaz when smugglers and criminals are doing everything they can to evade our nation’s security and illegally enter the U.S.,” he told Holder.
“I hope you will think about what this type of decision means to those who are protecting our borders and provide a thorough explanation based on the concerns I have raised,” he said.
WND previously reported that Diaz was sentenced to 24 months in jail for grabbing the arms of the drug smuggler and lifting them to make him comply with orders.
According to a new FreeAgentDiaz.com website, Diaz was “maliciously prosecuted at the request of the Mexican consul in Eagle Pass, Texas.”
The legal case against the officer, who previously had been cleared of wrongdoing in two separate investigations, was “solely motivated by politics and is yet another example of prosecutorial abuse and misconduct while protecting Mexico’s narco-terror influences,” organizers of the website said.
The prosecution was conducted after the juvenile suspect, who reportedly was caught with some 75 pounds of drugs he had smuggled into the U.S., was given immunity by the U.S. government.
The sentence was announced by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum in San Antonio.
Ramirez, whose organization’s activities include raising funds for defense counsel for an appeal, told WND, “We do not hold hope that President Barack H. Obama will do the proper and appropriate thing by issuing presidential pardon of agent Diaz given his administration’s zeal in pushing amnesty for illegal aliens via ordering our agencies to cease deportation and removal of illegal aliens and ignoring the laws long set by the Congress.”
He cited “misconduct” known as Operation Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, which resulted in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Ramirez said the prosecution of Diaz “is all about sending a message to law enforcement, ‘thou shalt not do thy job and protect America’s borders, coastlines, ports of entry, waterways, or transit hubs, as well as citizens and resident aliens for to do so is risk the wrath of the Mexican government and be served up as a scalp for prosecution.’”
Ramirez contended the federal case against Diaz is based on “lies and misrepresentation of the facts.”
The facts, he said, are in the record of the court proceedings. In fact, one “star witness” “changed his story so many times, including with the field agents, at the Eagle Pass-South BP station, to the Mexican consulate, to the investigators, grand jury and at trial … that he has zero credibility.”
Border watchers will remember the extended battle fought by Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean after they were prosecuted, convicted and jailed, again at the request the Mexican government, for shooting at and striking a drug smuggler who reportedly dropped a load in the U.S. and was fleeing back to Mexico.
Their punishments ultimately were commuted by President George W. Bush, although they did not receive pardons, leaving their convictions on their records.
The wife of Agent Diaz, Diana, also an employee of the Border Patrol, told WND in an interview that the maneuver used by her husband in the incident in 2009 was one that agents are trained to do.
“It was what we were taught at the academy,” she said.
She said the couple at first thought the case was simply a mistake and Jesus Diaz soon would be cleared and back to work. However, a first trial, which was declared a mistrial because the judge ordered jurors not to take notes on the various stories they were told, and one did, enlightened both Jesus and Diana Diaz, she said.
She said there was manipulation of testimony, evidence and even jury instructions.
They realized then that “this was going south,” she told WND.
She cited some of the same concerns as LEOAC: conflicting testimony from the same witnesses at different times; changed testimonies, testimonies that contradicted reality (how could someone at a distance see what was going on at 2 a.m. without lights?) and the like.
She also noted that Jesus Diaz had been cleared of wrongdoing – twice – before federal prosecutors finally insisted on bringing a case. Diaz previously was cleared by the Office of Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility.
She noted her husband even refused to “apologize” to the drug smuggler when ordered by the judge, because he hadn’t done anything wrong.
She said there was no logical or reasonable reason for such an intensive prosecution.
“There was nothing there. If he had broken his [the smuggler's] skin, or a bone, if there was blood. But there was nothing wrong with him,” she said. “Just markings on his shoulders from the drugs [carried in a backpack].”
Diana Diaz said her suspicion is that there was some high-level favor trading going on between the U.S. and Mexican governments.
Ramos and Compean were convicted of various charges that stemmed from firing their service weapons at a fleeing drug smuggler, and they were given prison terms
of more than a decade.
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean
Their original case stemmed from the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila. The two officers said they thought Aldrete-Davila was armed and made a threatening move.
WND was among the first to report Aldrete-Davila then committed a second drug offense, smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while he was under the protection of immunity from federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton’s office and in possession of a border-pass card authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.
WND also reported when Aldrete-Davila admitted to federal drug smuggling charges, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for a 57 months.
In a commentary on WND, former Congressman Tom Tancredo explained how Diaz “mistreated” the suspect.
“The man was handcuffed, and allegedly, Diaz lifted his handcuffs to force him to the ground because he was not cooperative” he wrote. “These two Border Patrol prosecutions have more in common than the eternal vigilance of Johnny Sutton. In these cases and many others, the U.S. attorney’s office was responding to protests from the Mexican government that its citizens were being mistreated by Border Patrol agents.
“Why do we see this acute sensitivity to the wishes and interests of the corrupt government of Mexico in matters of U.S. criminal law and U.S. border security? This is almost laughable, but to the 20,400 officers of the Border Patrol, it is more than a nuisance. It is a threat held over their heads daily,” Tancredo said.
Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity for his drug smuggling by federal prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the agents. He had crossed the Rio Grande and picked up a marijuana-loaded vehicle near El Paso. After a car chase in which he fled from the officers, he abandoned the vehicle and ran back across the border on foot. He was shot in the buttocks as he ran.