Drug dealer shot by Border Patrol agents indicted

ASSOCIATED PRESS

November 16, 2007

EL PASO, Texas – An admitted Mexican drug dealer shot by a pair of U.S. Border Patrol agents later convicted in the shooting has been charged with smuggling marijuana, according to authorities.

Osvaldo Aldrete Davila was arrested yesterday at an international port of entry in El Paso, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said.

A sealed indictment issued in October accused him of committing the crimes in September and October of 2005, several months after he was shot in the buttocks while fleeing from a pair of Border Patrol agents.

The agents, Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, were convicted last year of shooting Aldrete and lying about it. The agents were each sentenced to more than a decade in prison.
Aldrete's shooting and the subsequent arrest and conviction of the agents caused a furor among conservative lawmakers and others. Critics of Sutton have repeatedly called the prosecution unjustified and the sentences extreme.

Aldrete is charged with a variety of drug-related charges, including possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted, Aldrete faces up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

Sutton noted critics of the prosecution of the agents have complained that Aldrete, “the fleeing, unarmed drug smuggler they shot,” should have been prosecuted.

“I have repeatedly said that if we obtained sufficient competent and admissible evidence against Aldrete, we would prosecute him,” Sutton stated.

Joe Loya, Ramos' father-in-law, said the indictment wasn't surprising. “He is a career criminal who has been smuggling drugs since he was 14,” he said.

Opponents of the prosecution against Ramos and Compean have previously argued that Sutton's office ignored evidence that Aldrete, who acknowledged smuggling drugs the day he was shot in February, 2005, had smuggled drugs a second time.

Aldrete was given immunity for the first smuggling attempt to testify against the agents.