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Free Former Border Agents Ramos and Compean


Posted: February 25, 2008 5:07 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Wikipedia defines the word "hero" from Greek mythology and folklore as the offspring of both a deity and a mortal, who in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage and the will for self-sacrifice.

There are two such individuals, American heroes, who are currently languishing in the federal penitentiary: Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

Three years ago, U.S. Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean, both decorated federal border agents, were doing their jobs protecting America from the onslaught of drugs and illegal alien invasion. Agent Compean was in hot pursuit of an unmarked van.

Driving that vehicle 40 miles east of El Paso, Texas, was Mexican smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila who was bringing into the United States 800-plus pounds of marijuana. Agent Compean fired his service revolver, missing his intended target, and called for backup as drug smuggler Aldrete-Davila scampered into the brush at the Rio Grande.

Ramos fired when he saw what he perceived as a weapon glistening in the mid-afternoon sun. It makes common sense that drug dealers carry weapons, doesn't it?

Unknown to either agent, a bullet from Ramos' service revolver struck Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks. Injuries were minor. After an investigation, violations of federal civil rights charges were brought against Agents Ramos and Compean.

Despite having two sealed federal indictments for previous drug trafficking, Aldrete-Davila was given complete immunity for all alleged crimes in exchange for his testimony in court. He is currently pursuing a $5 million violation-of-civil-rights lawsuit against the United States.

Given the current political climate of the Bush administration's position on the border, one can reasonably expect our government to cough up millions to this criminal. What message is our government sending to us when a drug-smuggling scumbag is given any civil rights, let alone $5 million of our taxpayers' money? Drug and people smugglers: It is open season, business as usual in America.

An absolutely out-of-control U.S. Attorney's Office in El Paso, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Debra Kanof and Jose Luis Gonzalez, threw the entire bookstore at Ramos and Compean. The U.S. attorney introduced 924C of the Civil Rights Code to enhance the penalty against the two agents to mandatory 10- to 12-year prison terms, if convicted. 924C enhanced penalties were never meant to be directed to law enforcement personnel who were working on the job.

An El Paso jury did exactly that, convicting both, and George Bush-appointed federal Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced Ramos to 11 years and a day. Compean received a 12-year sentence.

After a number of threats and one successful attack against Ramos in prison, the two have been in solitary confinement for the last 13 months. Both cases are on appeal and the 5th District Court in New Orleans will any day render its decision in this miscarriage of justice.

Orange County Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is an outspoken advocate of these two heroes and recently released the following statement: "It has been a year since Border Agents Ramos and Compean entered prison. This marks a year of shame for President Bush who has been fully aware of the details of this blatant miscarriage of justice and chosen to do absolutely nothing about it. ... The president has shown us his arrogant and heartless side by permitting the wrongful incarceration of Ramos and Compean to continue."

I find it pathetic the president of the United States has absolutely no problem signing off on an amnesty of upwards of 30 million illegal aliens but fails to offer a pardon to these two American heroes.

The Texas Minutemen and Joe Loya, father-in-law of Ramos, are sponsoring Operation Free Ramos. Find out more by logging on to or Your help is greatly needed.

You can also send along your best wishes to these two heroes:

Ignacio Ramos #58070-180
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 545th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Jose Compean #58080-180
FCI Elkton
P.O. Box 10
Lisbon, OH 44432

Please take a moment and write to Ignacio and Jose. They need your good wishes and prayers more than ever. This injustice sits in my throat and will not go away. Not until these two heroes are free and each granted medals for their heroic deeds.

Free Ramos and Compean.

Roger Gitlin is a Santa Clarita resident, teacher and Minuteman. He can be reached at His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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