- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Mexican national who was shot by two Border Patrol agents but later was charged with smuggling marijuana is expected to plead guilty to those charges today in federal court in El Paso, Texas, The Washington Times has learned.

Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, whose testimony against Border Patrol Agents Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean led to their conviction in March 2006, was apprehended by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last year at the international port of entry in El Paso, after witnesses identified him in a second drug-smuggling operation.

Ramos and Compean are serving 11 and 12 years, respectively.

“He decided to take the plea,” said a source close to the case who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case and ongoing appeals of the two border agents. “He admitted to the two loads. Davila is looking at six to 10 years.”

Court records show that Aldrete Davila is scheduled to plead guilty at the federal courthouse in El Paso at 3 p.m. local time.

The imprisoned agents, who already have spent more than a year in solitary confinement for their protection, appealed their case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in December.

The 5th Circuit still has not returned a decision in the case, in which federal prosecutors admitted to the three-judge panel that Aldrete Davila lied.

“He told some lies,” said Mark Stelmach, the assistant U.S. attorney who represented the government.

Aldrete Davila was charged in November with conspiring to distribute marijuana in the United States between June and November 2005. According to DEA documents obtained by the Times, Aldrete Davila continued to smuggle narcotics after being granted immunity by federal prosecutors.

The pair shot Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he fled after having stopped his van near El Paso in February 2005. Later, it was found that he had smuggled 743 pounds of marijuana, which was discovered in the van he left behind.

He crossed back into Mexico and was brought back later under an immunity agreement with the U.S. government to testify against the agents.

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