Mr. Speaker, a long awaited Senate judiciary hearing on the prosecution of border agents Ramos and Compean occurred today. I was impressed with the Chair, Senator Diane Feinstein from California, and the questioning of Senator John Cornyn of Texas at the hearing.
The hearing brought to light the overzealous, overreacting and overreaching prosecution of these two Border Patrol agents, Ramos and Compean. It also showed us and the American public the difficulty our border protectors have on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Chief Aguilar of the Border Patrol said today that violence against border agents has increased. In just the first 4 days of last week, 11 assaults occurred against border agents. Over 2,000 assaults have occurred in the last 2 1/2 years, and 12 officers have been killed in the last few years.
Not only is the border violent because of drug cartels, but violence occurs against these border agents. The border is not Disneyland, but the U.S. Attorney's Office showed they are living in Never Neverland by their relentless determination to see that these agents went to prison for 11 and 12 years a piece for just doing their job on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Much was said today, but I want to concentrate on the U.S. Government's main witness, the drug dealer who appears to have been a bought-and-paid-for witness that received immunity from prosecution. He received a get-out-of-jail-free card, received free medical attention for his wounds at the taxpayers' expense, and blanket amnesty to cross and recross the Texas-Mexico border whenever he wished. All this so he would testify against the two border agents, Ramos and Compean.
Mr. Speaker, as a former judge, it has been my experience that when prosecutors make deals with criminals in return for testimony, they usually get the testimony they want from the criminal, and the same is to be said in this case here.
These agents were sent to prison because one of them shot a drug dealer bringing in $1 million worth of drugs into the United States. The agents probably violated some Homeland Security policies, and maybe they should have been sanctioned or even fired, but to let the drug dealer go free because the agents violated a policy was an error in judgment on the part of our own government.
And the U.S. Attorney's Office had two choices, Mr. Speaker. They had the choice to prosecute a drug dealer bringing in $1 million worth of drugs, or they had the choice to prosecute two border agents that violated some policy, and our government chose poorly.
Of course, the Mexican Government got involved in this case and wrote an arrogant letter demanding prosecution by our government. It seems to me this may be the basis for the prosecution.
Let me tell you a little bit about this drug dealer. He received immunity from prosecution, but part of his deal was that he would cooperate with the U.S. Border Patrol and Federal prosecutors. The cooperation? Well, he never would tell who he was working for. He named no names of the drug cartels. He did not cooperate at all. And while he was waiting to testify in this case, he criss-crossed the Texas-Mexico border and brought in another load of drugs worth almost $1 million, and the Feds kept that from the jury.
Why wasn't it important to know about this second case? Because the entire prosecution was based on the testimony of the government's star witness, and the jury had the right to know that this drug dealer brought in another load of drugs while waiting to testify. So to judge his credibility as a witness, the jury had the right to know that, and that evidence was kept out at the insistence of the U.S. prosecutors.
The U.S. prosecutor made this drug dealer Aldrede to be some poor mule from Mexico that brought in a load of drugs for a little money for his sick mother down in Mexico, and that was not the case. He was an operative that moved back and forth across the Texas-Mexico border, and we know he brought in at least two loads of drugs just in a short period of time in this case.
This second load of drugs should have been brought to the attention of the jury. The prosecutors never prosecuted this Aldrede for that. They even had a DEA report that recommended prosecution. I've seen that DEA report, and based on my experience, a third-year law student could have prosecuted that case even though the U.S. Attorney's Office says, oh, there's not enough evidence. The jury should have known about this so as to have judged the credibility of this star witness.
So the government chose between border agents to be prosecuted doing their job or a drug dealer testifying and then bringing in drugs into the United States. Our government should be embarrassed about this case.
And that's just the way it is.
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