Rick Amato

Major recent drug busts — by authorities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border — have successfully disrupted drug cartel distribution efforts, resulting in a sharp decrease of drug supplies in several U.S. cities according to the DEA.

Meanwhile two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, continue to serve prison sentences for attempting to apprehend a known convicted drug smuggler in February 2005, while the smuggler himself is a free man after receiving government immunity.

On the surface, these stories may appear to contradict each other — stepped-up government efforts in the war on drugs, porous borders and preferential government treatment for a drug smuggler — but to one law enforcement professional who recently contacted me, it all makes sense.

A veteran law enforcement professional, who states that for reasons of personal safety chooses at the moment to remain anonymous, told me he believes "Ramos and Compean wandered down the wrong road at the wrong time and found themselves involved in the middle of a much bigger government operation of some type."

"From day one I have believed, based upon how this case has been handled, the government chose to regard Ramos and Compean as collateral damage for the greater good of some bigger operation, as opposed to risk jeopardizing months and years of diligent hard work, millions of dollars of money invested and possibly exposing the names of other informants." He further states that he maintains relationships with law enforcement professionals on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border who share his "collateral damage" conclusion, but are not yet willing to risk stepping forward publicly.

"First off, the integrity of the government's handling of this case is very suspicious to say the least. Just take a look at their star witness. There's something rotten in Denmark."

Indeed, curiously, the government's star witness was Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, the two-time convicted drug smuggler crossing the border illegally who Ramos-Compean had attempted to apprehend. Davila, age 26, has been running drugs from Mexico into the United States since he was 14.

T.J. Bonner, president of The National Border Patrol Council, told me, "The U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton built his own case almost entirely around one person's word. The word of a two-time loser who has been running drugs for 12 years and has no credibility. The U.S. Attorney chose to take the word of a drug smuggler over that of two sworn agents."

"Normally in these situations the government will cut a deal where the smuggler gets a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony. But never do they allow someone to walk away completely scot-free as they did here."


Rick Amato

Rick Amato is a radio talk show host, Washington Times columnist, political commentator and a frequent guest on CNN. 'The Rick Amato Show' is heard on 1170 KCBQ in San Diego. Rick blogs at http://rickmato.townhall.com.

Be the first to read Rick Amato's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.