Nacho Ramos still fighting for the rest of his freedom
By Linda Bentley | July 8, 2009
‘They might as well just send someone to come
live with us’
PHOENIX – “It was like pulling teeth,” said Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos, about getting permission from his parole officer to not only travel out of the state of Texas for the first time since being released from prison in February in order to attend an Independence Day event at Camp Vigilance in San Diego, but to have enough time to make a pit stop in Phoenix to thank his supporters there.
Ramos and Jose Compean are the two former Border Patrol agents who were sentenced to prison for more than a decade apiece for attempting to apprehend career drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, to whom U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton provided special privileges so he would testify against the agents.
The van Davila ditched to run back across the border into Mexico was loaded with approximately 800 pounds of marijuana. As he was running, both Ramos and Compean testified Davila appeared to be pointing something shiny at them.
Unbeknownst to them at the time, Ramos’ single shot apparently hit Davila in the butt, but at an angle that seemed to confirm both agents’ accounts of Davila turned somewhat backwards pointing something, which they both believed to be a gun, as he ran.
President Bush, on his way out the door, commuted the sentences of Ramos and Compean, allowing them to be released from prison in February after both had spent the best part of past two years in solitary confinement.
Although they were offered a plea deal for 18-months, they turned it down, due to their innocence and their belief in the system.
Supporters set up a reception for the Ramos family at the American Legion Post 107 in Phoenix to welcome Ramos “home.”
Ramos, his wife Monica, who crusaded on his behalf during his incarceration, and their three sons Aaron, Jacob and Ryan were immediately swarmed by friends as they pulled into the parking lot.
Ramos told the group what it’s been like to be out on parole and said his entire family is essentially dragged into it as well for the next three years. He said, “They want to know what we drive, how many miles it has on it, how much money we have in the bank, where did we get it, if I have found a job yet … They might as well just send someone to come live with us.”
Determining El Paso was no longer safe for the family after someone had turned on the gas in their house while Monica and the boys were away in what appeared to be an attempt on their lives, they recently moved to Houston, where they also felt there would be more opportunities.
But, as Ramos says, it is not easy to land a job with a felony on his record and he and his family have been relying on friends, family and the kindness of strangers.
Compean and Ramos may not associate with one another and U.S. Border Patrol officials have sent out memorandums telling agents not to associate with either of the men, because they are convicted felons, although a few agents who support Ramos and Compean do so anyway.
Ramos is pursuing a new trial, which will be his last option, since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his case on April 3. On April 9, Sutton announced his resignation as U.S. Attorney effective April 19.
Ramos didn’t elaborate, but he said there was a lot of information they learned after the trial they believe would have provided a vastly different outcome.
Other than being granted a new trial, a presidential pardon is his only other remedy.
However, a pardon only comes with the cloud of having been guilty.
Ramos thanked everyone at the Legion for their support before and throughout his ordeal. Although he smiles and tries to stay positive and calls his wife and three boys “my guiding light,” he says it’s been tough, pointing out his youngest son has had health problems and recently underwent surgery.
Adjusting to life after living the past two years in solitary confinement while attempting to return to a position where he can support his family has been compounded by legal costs.
Don Goldwater piped up for the somewhat reserved Ramos and expressed the family’s need for money.
Ramos indicated people can visit their website www. agentramos.com for information about making a donation.
When the Ramos family arrived at Camp Vigilance in San Diego to celebrate Independence Day, Ramos was treated like royalty and honored by Tom Tancredo, the former U.S.
Congressman from Colorado who has been a champion for Ramos and Compean as well as all border agents who put their lives on the line to secure our borders.
Photo: Barb Heller, pictured here giving Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos a hug, helped organize the Phoenix reunion for Ramos and his family at the American Legion Post 107 last week, marking his first trip outside of Texas since being released from prison in February after President Bush commuted his sentence.
Photo by Linda Bentley