Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, the drug smuggler who testified for the prosecution during the trials for Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, has been arrested on charges of bringing more than 750 pounds of marijuana into the United States.
Aldrete-Davila was arrested today at the El Paso border crossing on charges involving what has become know as the “second load,” in which he smuggled a second 750-pound load of marijuana into the U.S. after he was given immunity by the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, for the first load.
As WND reported, Cipriano Ortiz-Hernando, the stash house operator in the “second load” brought across the border by Aldrete-Davila, pleaded guilty in El Paso in August to federal drug charges.
WND also reported on a Nov. 21, 2005, memo by DHS Special Agent Christopher Sanchez indicating DEA investigators conducted a “knock and talk” with Ortiz-Hernandez in Clinton, Texas, Oct. 23, 2005, in which they learned of Aldrete-Davila’s second operation.
According to the report, Ortiz-Hernandez positively identified Aldrete-Davila as the driver who dropped off 752.8 pounds of marijuana in a 1990 Chevy Astro van at Ortiz-Hernandez’s home.
Ortiz-Hernandez said he was able to make the identification because Aldrete-Davila lifted his shirt to show him the catheter inserted by a U.S. Army doctor at Beaumont Medical Center in El Paso. Aldrete-Davila was treated at government expense for the gunshot wound he suffered in the initial Feb. 17, 2005, encounter with Ramos and Compean, who shot at him as he abandoned a vehicle loaded with drugs and fled on foot back into Mexico.
Ortiz-Hernandez – reportedly in a wheelchair at the time of the DEA interview – reciprocated by showing Aldrete-Davila his own catheter.
According to Sanchez’s report, Aldrete-Davila took 752.8 pounds of marijuana across the border on Oct. 22, 2005.
WND also reported prosecutor Debra Kanof argued at the Ramos-Compean trial that presiding U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone should seal any discussion of Aldrete-Davila’s involvement in the second load involving Ortiz-Hernandez.
Cardone ruled not only that defense attorneys were prohibited from revealing any information about Aldrete-Davila’s second load to the jury, but defense attorneys and even the families of Ramos and Compean would be prosecuted for violating the judicial seal should they reveal to the press any hint of Aldrete-Davila’s continuing drug career.
Aldrete-Davila’s arrest is certain to renew pressure to release Ramos and Compean, who currently are in solitary confinement in federal prison, serving prison terms of 11 and 12 years, respectively.
President Bush so far has refused to intervene in the case of Ramos and Compean, whose appeals still are pending.
In view of Aldrete-Davila’s arrest for the second drug load brought into the United States while he had immunity from Sutton’s office and was in possession of a Department of Homeland Security border pass card, Sutton’s decision to withhold from the jury information about the second load may not be politically sustainable.
Attorneys for Ramos and Compean are expected to press for a complete release of all files concerning Aldrete-Davila that Sutton and various federal agencies have so far withheld from the jury and the public regarding the self-admitted drug smuggler.
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