Note: many folks are expressing concerns of how many U.S. officials
may be on cartel payroll, or maybe in this case as others is it
just political motivations? A growing lack of confidence in DOJ.
Advocacy groups say jailed ex-Border Patrol agent targeted
By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 10/31/2011 07:22:56 AM MDT
El Paso native Jesus "Chito" E. Diaz Jr. lost his career with the
U.S. Border Patrol and ended up with a felony conviction after an
encounter three years ago with a Mexican teenage drug smuggler on the
South Texas border.
On Oct. 20, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludham sentenced Diaz to
24 months in prison for depriving a 15-year-old Mexican citizen of
his constitutional rights under color of law.
Diaz was accused of pulling off the handcuffs on the boy, an admitted
drug smuggler, slamming him to the ground, and pressing the youth's
back with his knee. Diaz pleaded not guilty in his trial in February
to one count of excessive force and five counts of lying to internal
The National Border Patrol Council, which represents more than 17,000
Border Patrol agents, and the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates
Council, an advocacy group, contend that Diaz was unfairly targeted
for prosecution and that his case's outcome sets a bad precedent for
other agents who serve on the front lines.
"This case continues the tradition of bias against Border Patrol
agents in the Western District of Texas," the National Border Patrol
said in a statement Thursday. "Diaz's actions did not rise to the
level of a crime ... While the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western
District of Texas has a job to do, one that includes prosecuting the
criminals who commit crimes, it has shown a distinctly quick trigger
in going after Border Patrol agents."
Diaz, 33, who is in custody, could not be reached for comment. His
wife, Diana Diaz, a Border Patrol supervisor in Del Rio, Texas, said
her husband should not be in prison.
"I am speaking only as his wife when I say that 'Chito' does not
belong in jail," she said.
Diaz Jr. attended El Paso Community College and also has a brother
who serves in the Border Patrol and other relatives in El Paso. He
and his wife have six children.
The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and
the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Professional
Responsibility cleared Diaz of any wrongdoing in the 2008 incident.
However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Attorney's
Office proceeded against Diaz.
Andy Ramirez, president of the LEOAC, said he believes the U.S.
government went forward with the charges against Diaz to appease the
The Mexican consulate in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, where the
juvenile lived, submitted a complaint alleging that Diaz had
mistreated the boy while in the agent's custody.
Rarmirez said GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, a
congresswoman from Minnesota, and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.,
have offered to help Diaz. Gov. Rick Perry, also a presidential
nominee hopeful for the Republican Party, declined to get involved.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Hunter complained about
the Diaz prosecution, and compared it to the 2006 case against former
El Paso Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and José Alonso Compeán.
"It was the same office, under U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, that
unapologetically led the prosecution against Agents Ramos and
Compeán, going as far as providing the smuggler with full immunity
and border-crossing documentation," Hunter's letter said. "In the
case of Agent Diaz, the smuggler was also given immunity for reasons
that are not at all clear."
Ramos and Compeán were sentenced to more than 10 years in prison each
in connection with the shooting of a drug smuggler who was fleeing
back to Mexico. After a national campaign of support for the two
agents, then-President George W. Bush commuted their sentences and
they were released.
Diaz Jr. was starting his shift when Border Patrol agents were sent
to check on a report of possible drug smuggling near the Rio Grande
just outside of Eagle Pass, which is across the border from Piedras
Diaz and the other agents arrived at a pecan orchard known as the
Rosetta Farm at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2008. Witnesses at Diaz's
trial said the suspects were hiding among the high grass and a fallen
tree in the area.
Border Patrol agents and a canine unit eventually encountered the 15-
year-old and an adult suspect.
According to court documents, the suspects crossed the Rio Grande
illegally on a boat, and were supposed to transport backpacks filled
with marijuana to the U.S. side of the border.
They did not have the backpacks on them when they were apprehended,
but showed strap marks on their shoulders. Authorities identified the
adult suspect as a Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang member with a rap
sheet. Neither the adult nor the juvenile was charged with drug
According to U.S. drug investigators, some MS-13 members are
affiliated with the Sinaloa cartel, which is active in the Piedras
Negras-Eagle Pass smuggling corridor. The cartel is led by Joaquin
At one point during the 2008 incident, Diaz took custody of the
teenager, who had been handcuffed by another Border Patrol agent, and
asked the boy "donde esta la mota?" ("Where is the pot?").
The boy testified that he was handcuffed from behind and Diaz lifted
his arms with the cuffs, causing him pain, slammed him on the ground
and pressed his knee against the boy's back. The encounter between
Diaz and the boy lasted about 10 minutes, according to testimony.
Agents found the backpacks with marijuana near where they apprehended
the suspects. The Border Patrol turned over the marijuana to the Drug
The boy was transported by vehicle to the Border Patrol station for
processing, and did not mention the mistreatment until after he met
the next day with Mexican consulate officials.
The teenager agreed to testify against Diaz, and received immunity
against any charges related to the drugs, illegal entry or of
initially lying to federal officials about the marijuana. He also
received a U.S. visa.
The LEOAC's Ramirez said two of the Border Patrol trainee agents who
testified against Diaz were fired later, one for sleeping on the job
and the other for refusing to submit to a drug urinalysis test.
Ramirez also contends that Diaz received unfair treatment, especially
compared with the U.S. Attorney's case against Alex Moses Jr. of
Eagle Pass. Moses was a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector
who received five years' probation after being convicted of smuggling
6 ounces of cocaine from Mexico in 2008.
Ramirez said Moses is a cousin of Federal Judge Alia Moses Ludham,
who presided over the Diaz trial. She was the chief federal
prosecutor for the U.S. Western District of Texas in Del Rio before
Bush nominated her to the judgeship.
"The common denominator was Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney of the
Western District of Texas who ordered the prosecution of Ramos and
Compeán, and who began the investigation against Diaz before he
retired," Ramirez said.
Earlier this year, in another case pending in the Western District of
Texas, a U.S. district judge dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S.
government in connection with the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy
on the Rio Grande near the Paso del Norte Bridge.
The Border Patrol agent involved in the shooting, Jesus Mesa Jr., has
not been charged with anything. His lawyer, Randolph Ortega, has said
that Mesa was defending himself against rock throwing.
Relatives and friends of Diaz are circulating a petition for the
former agent to receive a presidential pardon. The National Border
Patrol Council indicated that it probably will assist with an appeal
of Diaz's conviction.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Note: the U.S. taxpayer pays for border security for both countries
San Luis officials urge patience amid long border lines
October 30, 2011 4:10 PM
BY CESAR NEYOY - BAJO EL SOL
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — City officials here are asking for the public's
patience as border inspections cause delays for motorists crossing
As part of the U.S. government's efforts to crack down on drug cartel
violence in Mexico, Customs and Border Protection officers in San
Luis, Ariz., have been inspecting southbound vehicles for weapons and
large sums of crash.
Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla conceded that lines of Mexico-bound
traffic are likely to get even longer during the agricultural produce
season in the weeks ahead, given that many farmworkers commute
between their homes in Mexico and Yuma-area fields.
Escamilla said city officials have met with CBP to find ways to
minimize the border crossing delays.
"What is clear is that there is no possibility of ending the
inspections," Escamilla said. "As I said before, Mexico's government
asked for it (inspections of outbound traffic), and the only thing we
can do is to cooperate to help facilitate the traffic."
Since the inspections began in February, Mexico-bound vehicles
periodically have lined up on Main Street as far back as Juan Sanchez
Boulevard on the north side of the city. Once it reaches the San Luis
city limits, Highway 95 becomes Main Street, continuing south through
the heart of the city's downtown commercial district on its way to
the port of entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Son.
CBP officials have said the inspections will continue indefinitely.
City Hall has received complaints from residents that the long lines
have contributed to overall traffic congestion, City Administrator
Ralph Velez said, adding that "the problem is out of our hands."
The federal government has, however, allocated funds through its
Operation Stonegarden to San Luis to pay for city police officers to
provide traffic control during periods of long lines, Escamilla said.