Fake Texas Department of Transportation vehicle used to haul drugs

Since 2005, federal and state law enforcement officials have known drug smugglers were using fake Texas Department of Transportation vehicles to haul their cargo all over the Lone Star State.

But, more than two years later, and despite a major prosecution of the 11 people involved in the scam by Johnny Sutton of the U.S. attorney’s office – the official known for handing two Border Patrol agents jail sentences of more than 10 years apiece – the fraudulent trucks are still being found carrying their illicit loads.

In August, Texas state troopers found one of the fake trucks in East Texas carrying 1,000 pounds of marijuana.

The truck had a TxDOT logo on the door, but reflective stripes on the side of the vehicle were slightly different from official trucks.

Now, more than two years later after 11 people were sentenced in helping with the scam, Texas DOT is putting its employees on alert statewide.

In July 2006, U.S. Attorney Sutton announced the sentencing of 11 on mail fraud charges connected with the drug trafficking operation. However, none of those convicted received sentences like Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the two Border Patrol agents still serving their sentences of 11 and 12 years each in an incident involving their attempted apprehension of a drug smuggler.

The longest jail sentence handed out in the fake DOT trucks case was 27 months. Many of those convicted only paid fines.

The case of Ramos and Compean has stirred a national controversy, and their stiff sentence has placed Sutton in the political crosshairs.

Drugs discovered in fake Texas Department of Transportation truck

Last week, President Bush’s spokeswoman, Dana Perino, brushed off a request from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., for the Bush administration to review the their case.

Rohrabacher had made the request, arguing that for 10 months Ramos and Compean have been in conditions more severe than experienced by terrorists held by the U.S. at the Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The congressman also said he has written to Manhattan federal trial judge Michael Mukasey, Bush’s nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, demanding that upon confirmation Mukasey conduct an unbiased review of the agents’ prosecution.

Ramos and Compean received sentences of 11 and 12 years respectively for their actions in the shooting and wounding of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican illegal who was fleeing across the Mexican border and resisting arrest after having smuggled 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.

Fake Texas Department of Transportation vehicle used to haul drugs

In a fact sheet comparison of Gitmo Camp 4, the medium-security terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and the solitary confinement experienced by Ramos and Compean under the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Rohrabacher claims the former border agents’ spend 23 hours per day in their cells, with only one hour permitted outdoors per day.

Camp 4 Gitmo detainees, according to the fact sheet, are allowed to live in a communal setting that permits up to nine hours per day in outside exercise and recreational facilities that included covered picnic tables and ping-pong tables, as well as access to soccer fields and volleyball courts.

Ramos and Compean began serving their federal prison sentences on Jan. 17, while their cases were yet under appeal.

Special offers:

Get “The Late Great USA” and find out how America is giving away its sovereignty

“PREMEDITATED MERGER: How leaders are stealthily transforming USA into North American Union”

Autographed! – Pat Buchanan unleashed on border crisis

Tom Tancredo: America itself “In Mortal Danger”

Get Minutemen founder’s new book

“Conquest of Aztlan”: Will Mexicans retake American Southwest?

Previous stories:

Bush won’t get involved in Ramos, Compean review

Lawmaker: Terrorists treated better than Ramos, Compean

Texas deputy freed from prison

Jailed Texas deputy scheduled for release

Gil Hernandez ‘fears for his life’

Border Patrol agent vindicated

Sheriff sees pattern in border agents’ cases

Feds seeking 7 years for another Texas cop

Justice urged to release Ramos-Compean documents

Records prompt call for new Ramos-Compean trial

Congressman: Bush ‘doesn’t give a damn’

Cop called ‘double agent’ in Ramos-Compean case

Ramos, Compean release on bond nixed

Border agents’ case inspires song

Feinstein still probing Ramos-Compean case

Judicial Watch seeks records in Ramos-Compean case

Sheriff: Deputy prosecuted by Mexico’s demand

Senate hearings on Ramos-Compean postponed

Smuggler’s 2nd drug case confirmed by accomplice

Ramos attorney calls for mistrial

Smuggler’s 2nd delivery of marijuana confirmed

Congressman: Probe Mexico’s role in prosecutions

Mexico demanded U.S. prosecute sheriff, agents

Discrepancies in case against Border Patrol unresolved

Compean reports reading half of Bible already

How cozy was Border Patrol with smuggler?

Border Patrol agents fired for changing testimonies

Drug smuggler left cell phone in van

Border-agent investigator had tie to smuggler

Author of DHS border-agent report lied to Congress

Officials urged to resign for lie about border agents

Government admits lying about jailed border agents

Imprisoned border agent did report shooting

Imprisoned border agent beaten by fellow inmates

Prosecutor had evidence against drug smuggler

Poe seeks ‘public’ documents on border agents

Prosecutor accused of hiding smuggler’s 2nd drug bust

Homeland Security memos contradict U.S. attorney

Uproar over border agents to get White House review

Feds ‘knew smuggler’ in Border Patrol case

Ballistics data don’t support charge against border agents

Funds set up for Border Patrol agents

Congressman: Feds stonewalling on border agents

Border agent’s wife at State of the Union

Revolt builds as Republicans seek to toss border agents’ convictions

Border Patrol agent held in solitary confinement

Imprisoned agent’s wife: President is a hypocrite

Border agents’ prosecutor responds to critics

Border agents sent to prison

Border agents plead for ‘Christmas pardon’

White House clarifies ‘nonsensical’ comment’

12 congressmen demand pardon for border agents

Snow says question on agents’ prison time ‘nonsensical’

Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison

National Guard units to be armed, close to the border

Gang expert backs Tancredo charge

National Guard units to be armed, close to the border

No militarization of U.S.-Mex border

Not even killer flu to shut U.S. border

Chertoff downplays Mexican military incursions

‘Shoot illegals’ comment earns host FCC complaint

Another armed incursion on U.S.-Mexico border

Texas border standoff with Mexican military

Border Patrol warned: Brace for violence

Feds to border agents: Assassins targeting you

Armed standoff on Rio Grande

Border sheriff warns: We’re overwhelmed

Mexican drug commandos expand ops in 6 U.S. states

It’s war between cops in Mexico

The threat from Mexico

‘It’s a war’ along Mexican border

Mexican commandos seek control of border

Mexican commandos new threat on border

Border Patrol agents shot in Laredo

Mexicans shoot at Border Patrol

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.