The border pass given the drug smuggler by Sutton

Houston Chronicle:

The Mexican drug smuggler involved in the controversial prosecution of two Border Patrol agents was granted six border crossing passes to enter the U.S. unescorted — including two after he was linked by federal law enforcement to a million-dollar marijuana payload.

Copies of the six crossing cards, which in some cases were good for months at a time, were released Wednesday by five House Republicans who have been harshly critical of federal prosecutors for using an admitted drug trafficker to prosecute Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

"The whole episode stinks, and now we are beginning to see evidence of just how rotten it really is," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said at a Capitol news conference Wednesday.

But U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said Wednesday night that Osvaldo Aldrete Davila was not, in fact, permitted to travel unescorted into the U.S. after word surfaced that he may have been involved with a subsequent drug shipment.

"From there on out, he was escorted personally by federal agents to the U.S.," Sutton said.

"It's always frustrating when people are calling you names and spreading misinformation in a very public setting when there's an ongoing investigation," Sutton said. "Of course I'm being criticized because I haven't put Aldrete in prison yet. And of course, the reason he's not in prison is because the two agents, instead of doing their job, shot at him 15 times, hit him, lied about it, covered it up and filed a false report. But my team is still trying to make a case on him."


The House on Wednesday approved a move by conservative Republicans to try to set free the two former Border Patrol agents. After a long, emotional debate, the House voted by voice to block the Bureau of Prisons from keeping Ramos and Compean in federal prison.

Aldrete, given immunity from prosecution for running the drug load, was the star witness in prosecutors' case against the agents. He was given crossing documents so he could enter the U.S. to consult with prosecutors, Sutton said.

Under questioning by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Sutton said Aldrete's card was revoked after he was linked by the Drug Enforcement Administration to a subsequent 753-pound marijuana delivery discovered at a stash house in Clint eight months after the shooting — and four months before Ramos and Compean were placed on trial.

The documents obtained by Rohrabacher show a crossing permit was issued two days after the DEA filed a report saying Aldrete had been fingered by the stash house owner as the driver of the second marijuana load. A sixth crossing card for Aldrete was obtained in January 2006.

"The decision-making was unconscionable," said Rohrabacher.


This is just more evidence of the poor judgment shown in the prosecution of the border agents. It is clear that Sutton has not been as persuasive with the politicians in Washington and his team was with the jury that convicted the border agents. The Justice Department has refused to produce him to testify in the House hearings which are focused on the dubious contention that the prosecution was done at the request of Mexico. It is clear to me that Sutton passionately believes in his case despite the political difficulty it has caused. It appears that his passion out weighed common sense and judgment. The US attorney should not be using the border agents actions as an excuse for letting a guilty drug mule go.


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