Thursday, February 15, 2007

House Could Hear Border Agent Case

Perhaps the case against the border cops is beginning to unravel.

The speaker of the House of Representatives will be asked to hold hearings on the case of two convicted Border Patrol agents for the shooting of a Mexican drug smuggler. The request, which comes on the heels of the Senate's decision to hold hearings last week on the case, was drafted by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and was sent Wednesday to all House members.

It's about time, but too early to start a happy dance. There must be more light shed on this case.

"Numerous and repeated attempts by Members of Congress to ascertain the facts of this case through inquiries with relevant federal agencies have been unsuccessful. Our requests for information have been delayed or denied, and certain federal investigators have even misled us about this case."

That's what puzzles me about this case. Why all this pressure to get a conviction on two low level cops? Even if the Mexican consulate is hot to trot on this (as mentioned in a previous post) why leave yourself open to charges like this? There is more here than meets the eye.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, on Wednesday also sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner asking for an investigation into his office for misleading Congress about the circumstances surrounding the investigation of the agents.

At a private September meeting, House members from Texas, Poe, Rep. Michael McCaul and Rep. Kenny Marchant, were told by Skinner's office that they had evidence that Ramos and Compean "were out to shoot Mexicans" and that they had admitted to knowingly shooting an unarmed person.

Skinner admitted this month at two House hearings that those statements were false.

It isn't just US Attorney John Sutton who wanted a piece of Agents Ramos and Compean; now the Homeland Security IG has let his ass get dragged into this. Why did these people put the screws to these cops? Why expose themselves to this kind of criticism?

"These congressional hearings are necessary to shed light on the truth of this case," Poe added. "There are many unanswered questions regarding the trial and what happened that day. The Justice Department has no business being the long arm of the Mexican government."

Documents obtained by the Daily Bulletin show that the Mexican consulate was actively involved in the U.S. attorney's prosecution of the Border Patrol agents and a Texas deputy sheriff last year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has dubbed its investigation in these events as "the Texas Three."

This doesn't make any sense. Illegal campaign contributions from drug trafficking aren't in the picture, even if there are some handsome profits to be made.

Item #1. The smuggler was sneaking almost 800 lbs (worth about $1m) of marijuana. Even if he was making only one trip a week he was smuggling $52m of product a year. He probably was doing more. And most likely he was not the only "mule" for his boss. What was the profit for his boss? Here is one source. Other estimates place the profit margin at 170% or more.

500 pounds of marijuana can be purchased in Juárez, Mexico, for $50,000 and sold in St. Louis, Missouri, for $400,000.

In 1998 Americans spent an estimated $11 billion on marijuana. I imagine some of that found its way into the pockets of Mexican elected officials and cops.

Item #2. Let's not kid ourselves about the nature of "doing bidnez" in Mexico. Corruption is rife. Look at what happened in Tijuana. If something happens to interdict the flow of illegal drugs into the US, you can bet your last dollar that there are plenty of pesos available to bring Mexican public officials into the act.

Item #3. Sutton also went after Edwards County Deputy Sheriff Guillermo F. Hernandez for wounding an illegal alien being transported in a vehicle that tried to run down Deputy Hernandez. From the National Border Patrol Council web site:

The Texas Rangers conducted an independent investigation of Deputy Hernandez' shooting and cleared Deputy Hernandez of any wrongdoing; yet, somehow federal
Prosecutors managed to charge Deputy Hernandez a year and three months after the incident. Judging by the prosecutorial abuses that occurred in the Ramos and Compean case, one can only imagine how poorly the prosecution behaved in the
case against Deputy Hernandez

Why has our government responded so favorably to this manipulation?

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