Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mexican shot by agents stashed drugs after he got immunity

Jerry Seper:

A Mexican national who was shot by U.S. Border Patrol agents after abandoning 743 pounds of marijuana on the Texas border brought a second drug load into the United States while waiting to testify under a grant of immunity against the now-imprisoned agents, according to unreleased federal documents.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) documents, which remain under seal, show that Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila was the focus of a drug investigation into his reported stashing of 750 pounds of marijuana in a van at a house in Clint, Texas, in November 2005 -- nine months after he was shot in the buttocks near Fabens, Texas, while running from Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

The agents have since been sentenced to 11 and 12 years, respectively, in prison. Clint is eight miles northwest of Fabens in what law-enforcement authorities describe as a popular drug smuggling corridor.

The DEA's investigative reports, according to law-enforcement authorities and others, said a witness identified Aldrete-Davila as the van's driver, and that the owner of the house, Cipriano Ortiz-Hernandez, picked Aldrete-Davila from a display of several photos.

The authorities also said the reports show that the homeowner's brother, Jose Ortiz, told agents that Aldrete-Davila had brought the marijuana into the country from Juarez, Mexico, and identified him as "the person who was shot by Border Patrol agents."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, said the DEA reports show that prosecutors misled the public about their "star witness" in the transport of a second load of drugs, adding that U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton knowingly presented a false picture of the drug smuggler "to justify his ruthless prosecution."

He said that under Mr. Sutton's direction, prosecutors characterized the smuggler as an innocent victim, "which is clearly not the case," and when Mr. Sutton's office was told by the DEA of Aldrete-Davila's involvement in a second offense, "chose to disregard the information."

"Sutton's continuous attempts to paint a benign picture of the drug smuggler is not only disingenuous, but amounts to misleading the jury and the public when questioned about the second offense," he said. "Only an unscrupulous lawyer would believe this is an acceptable tactic."

Official: Mexican Drug Runner Shot by Border Agents Smuggled More Drugs Into U.S.

Aldrete-Davila ran drugs while under immunity

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