Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Advocates for a U.S .Border Patrol agent sent to prison for arresting a suspect carrying 75 pounds of drugs into the United States are seeking a presidential pardon after an appeals court affirmed the agent’s 24-month sentence.
Jesus E. “Chito” Diaz Jr. was convicted of using extra force in the apprehensive of the suspect, identified as “MBE,” despite the fact the juvenile suspect was returned to Mexico almost immediately without any complaint “that he was injured, hurt, or in pain.”
The Mexican government, which several times has gotten involved in U.S. prosecutions of U.S. Border Patrol agents over its treatment of Mexicans caught carrying drugs into the United States, then demanded a prosecution by the U.S. because MBE was arrested “with excessive force” and he “complained about the incident.”
On appeal, Diaz’ defense argued the trial judge said the case looked like nothing more than a misdemeanor, but the conviction was on a felony.
“Yet, the court affirms the lower court’s decision?” wrote Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council. “Just as it has in prior cases where the government has been hellbent to make victims out of illegal alien narco-terrorists, and turn law enforcement officers into out of control, vicious thugs with badges? We don’t buy it, for this case fits the pattern and does not pass the smell test.”
The reaction came after the conviction of Diaz was affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ramirez said his organization now will seek a presidential pardon “as this purely political case against Agent Diaz is a travesty sought out by the Mexican government in another message prosecution.”
“The Diaz case and decision by the appellate court to affirm the conviction against him continues a pattern of overreaching prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice especially in the Western District of Texas that include well documented cases against former USBP Agents Gary Brugman, Ramos and Compean, Noe Aleman, former FBI Special Agent in Charge Hardrick Crawford, Jr, and former Edwards County Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez,” Ramirez said.
Diaz issued a statement through the organization: “My family and I are deeply disappointed in the 5th Circuit’s decision on my appeal considering the fact that the presiding judge during oral commented during oral arguments that this looked more like a misdemeanor than a felony.”
E. Grady Jolly, the trial judge, said: “Nobody’s arguing, really, that the officer did the right thing or that it can be justified so much. The question is it just sounds more like a misdemeanor instead of a felony to me.”
Ramirez said the goal is a presidential pardon, after Diaz’ trip through the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution and an El Paso Texas halfway house and since he’s just days ago been restored to his wife and children.
“It is unconscionable that the case, which was pushed by the Mexican government, and included documented suborned perjury, could be affirmed in the favor of the so-called victim, MBE, a narco-terrorist illegal alien,” said Ramirez.
The organization said the drug-running suspect was covered with gang tattoos and had been the subject of a “be on lookout” warning from the Border Patrol already.
Also, far from being injured in the arrest, the only “markings” on MBE were “those from the straps on his shoulders … while carrying 75 lbs of bundled marijuana,” the organization said.
WND reported Diaz was found guilty of denying the teenager his constitutional rights by applying excessive force during the arrest. He was accused eventually of violating the smuggler’s rights by forcing him to the ground during his arrest, handcuffing him, then pulling on his arms to coerce him into complying with orders.
In it, Jolly stated, “Nobody’s arguing, really, that the officer did the right thing or that it can be justified so much. The question is it just sounds more like a misdemeanor instead of a felony to me.”
The legal case against the officer 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.
According to the discovery documents, other agents, hours after the alleged incident, claimed to an off-duty Border Patrol officer that Diaz used “excessive force” on the drug smuggler. That’s even though the suspect “was processed for voluntary return to Mexico by BPA Marco A. Ramirez, and subsequently returned to Mexico on the same date.”
None of the other agents thought the case significant enough to try to stop it at the time.
Several members of Congress, including Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Lamar Smith of the House Judiciary Committee, had been asked to look into the case.
Diaz’ wife earlier said she was outraged because the government told her that her husband would not be allowed to return home even after serving his prison term.
That’s because she also is a Border Patrol agent and is armed.
“I have to ask what does the DOJ want me to do? I can’t retire, I’m too young. Divorcing him is not an option as he would still have to come around for the children. What is Chito going to do about his brother, not see him for the next five years? He carries a gun,” Diana Diaz said in a statement released at the time.
The group has called for the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate the case.
WND reported when the federal government started reaching into the prison commissary fund belonging to Diaz to address part of a $7,000 fine imposed by the judge. That’s even though the court earlier told Diaz the fine would not be paid until after his jail sentence.
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean
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 of 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 the convictions on their records.
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.
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.