A team of advocates for U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jesus E. “Chito” Diaz Jr. is demanding his immediate release from prison after an appeals court judge said during oral arguments in the case that the officer’s actions may have been a misdemeanor.

“We, LEOAC, have long investigated this pattern of government protecting illegal alien drug cartel smugglers by the Justice Department [which] prosecutes Border Patrol agents instead of bad guy,” said Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council.

“Agent Diaz’ case screams for oversight review, as an innocent agent has been imprisoned for 16 months including jail time,” he said.

The group charges that the Diaz case is “another overreach by DOJ to give the Mexican government a scalp, while they protected the drug smuggling [suspect] MBE.”

The case developed when Diaz was on hand for the capture of a suspect who was hauling 75 pounds of drugs into the United States. Even though the suspect was returned to Mexico almost immediately without any complaint “that he was injured, hurt, or in pain,” the Mexican government later alleged that he was arrested “with excessive force” and that the “minor complained about the incident once he arrived to the South Station.”

Diaz, who was sentenced to 24 months, 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.

Sign a petition demanding Jesus Diaz be freed from a case launched because of pressure from the Mexican government.

Ramirez now says that the agent, who has been represented by the LEOAC in non-courtroom issues, should be released, reinstated to his position with back pay and benefits, and issued an apology.

Jesus Diaz Jr.

“It is imperative that this be done given a key statement made by Presiding Judge E. Grady Jolly during the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ oral arguments phase of Agent Diaz’ appeal, which just heard Chito’s case on July 12, 2012, in New Orleans,” he said.

The audio of that hearing has been posted on the LEOAC site.

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…”

According to the FreeAgentDiaz.com website, Diaz was “maliciously prosecuted at the request of the Mexican consul in Eagle Pass, Texas.”

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. They have been collecting donations to help with the officer’s fine as well as the needs of the agent’s family.

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.”

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 situation.

Hunter told LEOAC, “It’s good to see that this case may be finally receiving the impartial attention and due process it deserves, both for the personal respect of Agent Diaz and his family, and for the ‘far-reaching implications on law enforcement personnel,’ as the defense stated.

“I’m looking forward to the court’s decision, which I’m confident will be in Agent Diaz’s favor,” he said.

LEOAC said U.S. officers remain in grave dangers on the U.S.-Mexico border and are not backed up by the Justice Department when “assaulted, rocked, or shot at by illegal alien drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other individuals who have waged this new war…”

Weeks ago, the DOJ responded to Hunter’s request for leniency in the case with a flat refusal.

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 earlier 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 their 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.

WND also reported when Aldrete-Davila admitted to federal drug smuggling charges, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for 57 months.

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.

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