Saturday, February 10, 2007
Sen. Dianne Feinstein intervened Friday in the cases of two Border Patrol agents who are imprisoned for shooting an alleged Mexican drug smuggler and who have become a cause celebre for anti-illegal immigration GOP politicians, conservative media and activists.
The California Democrat, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote letters to three top administration officials -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Harley Lappin -- asking for specific information about their agencies' involvement in the case.
Feinstein is the first prominent Democrat to become involved in the case of the border agents, and her office said she has secured the agreement of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to conduct a committee investigation. She said Leahy is open to a hearing on the matter.
Border Patrol agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos were convicted last March and sentenced Oct. 9 for the 2005 shooting of an alleged drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, who had driven a van loaded with 743 pounds of marijuana from Mexico to Texas. The agents shot Aldrete-Davila as he tried to flee back across the border with Mexico, then hid evidence of the shooting and failed to report it, according to the evidence presented at their trial. Compean received a 12-year federal prison sentence, and Ramos 11 years and one month. Click here.