by Jack Minor –
A Border Patrol agent is currently serving a two-year sentence in solitary confinement for raising the arms of a drug smuggler during his arrest.
On October 16, 2008, at 2 a.m. Jesus Diaz, Jr. went to arrest a juvenile suspect near the south Texas border, who was reportedly caught with 75 pounds of marijuana in a backpack.
The prosecution claimed that the man was handcuffed and Diaz allegedly lifted the handcuffs to force him to the ground because he was not cooperative.
The prosecution was conducted even though two investigations had cleared Diaz. A third review was conducted at the request of the Mexican government, which became the basis for the conviction. The guilty verdict was the second trial for Diaz. The first trial was declared a mistrial after one of the jurors violated court instructions not to take notes on conflicting statements from witnesses. During the trial, the drug smuggler was given immunity to testify against Diaz.
Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates council, said the prosecution claimed Diaz used excessive force by putting his knee back and pulling back on the handcuffs.
However, Ramirez said at 2 a.m. it would be difficult for any witnesses to have seen exactly what occurred. The agent standing next to Diaz said he did not see anything that was claimed to have taken place.
Ramirez said, that following the incident, agents that supposedly witnessed the assault did not immediately report the incident. “Instead they went off-duty to a local ‘Whataburger’ restaurant, got their stories straight and reported it hours later to an off-duty supervisor at his home. Then the ‘witnesses’ went back to the station and reported their allegations. At the same time the Mexican Consulate in Eagle Pass also filed a formal complaint.”
During the trial, witnesses offered conflicting testimony about the incident, with some admitting in court that they committed perjury.
In the complaint by the Mexican Consulate, it says the defendant told them he was beaten by the agents and reported his injuries at the border patrol station.
During the trial, the defendant told a different story. He testified that during his arrest he did not give any sign he was in pain. He said it was only the next morning when the Mexican consulate asked him if anything had happened that he mentioned any pain. The doper admitted under oath that he issued two different statements saying that no one had ever hit him, grabbed his feet or touched his legs. He also admitted in his statements he did not mention anything about being picked up and brought back down.
During the trial the judge sealed pictures showing that the defendant did not suffer any injuries or bruising to his lower arms where the handcuffs were placed and his back where Diaz allegedly placed his knee. The only marks were from the backpack straps.
During the trial, the doper claimed he suffered no injuries, but was sore from his shoulders. Ramirez said this was due to the weight from the 75 pounds of drugs he carried across the border.
Ramirez said the case is part of a pattern of law enforcement officials being prosecuted because of demands by the Mexican government.
Under the Bush administration, border patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Alonso Compean, were sentenced to prison for more than a decade after shooting a fleeing drug smuggler in the buttocks. In that case Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila was shot after the officers thought Davila was armed and made a threating move.
U.S. Attorney General Johnny Sutton went after the agents for not reporting the incident within one hour and for attempting to cover up the incident by policing their brass at the scene. The agents had just been to the shooting range earlier and it is standard procedure to police your brass after firing on the range.
Davila escaped to Mexico and was eventually given immunity and free medical care for testifying against the agents. While under immunity, Davila was caught smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while in possession of a border-pass card issued by Homeland Security. The prosecution was prompted by calls from the Mexican government.
Following intense pressure, President Bush eventually commuted the sentences of the two agents in his last days in office.
Sutton also prosecuted a Rocksprings, Texas deputy sheriff, Guillermo Hernandez, after the officer shot out the tires of a van filled with Mexican illegal aliens who tried to run him over. The Mexican consulate wrote letters to Sutton’s office demanding the deputy be prosecuted for injuring the illegals. An investigation by the Texas Rangers cleared Hernandez, saying he did nothing wrong when he discharged his firearm. Following the conviction, Sutton’s office recommended seven years in prison, but Hernandez ended up serving one year and one day.
Stephanie Mohr, a K-9 officer in Maryland was sentenced to two years in prison after her dog bit an illegal alien during an arrest. The alien was arrested in 1995 for a string of jewelry store robberies. During the arrest, the alien reportedly attempted to escape. Following instructions from her supervisor, Mohr released her dog and the dog bit the illegal. Mohr ended up being charged with civil rights violations for the dog biting the illegal alien. Like Diaz, the first trial ended in a mistrial with 11 jurors voting to acquit. After a second trial Mohr was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Diaz’s case has gotten the attention of members of Congress. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has sent two letters to Eric Holder asking for details on Diaz’s prosecution. The second letter was sent after learning that the Department of Justice has ordered Diaz to pay a $6,870 fine that is due immediately.
Hunter is still waiting for a response from Holder’s office.
Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo excoriated the DOJ for bowing to the demands of the Mexican government. In a column for WND, Tancredo said, “Apparently, when the Mexican government demands a prosecution in west Texas, you just keep investigating until you get the results you want.”
Tancredo also noted that so far Texas governor Rick Perry has been silent on the issue. “Predictably enough, we have heard not a word from Gov. Rick Perry, who also remained silent through the trial, sentencing and imprisonment of agents Ramos and Compean. Evidently Gov. Perry’s self-proclaimed devotion to border security does not include standing up for Border Patrol agents who are targeted for retaliation by the Mexican government.”