Hunter Wants Pardon for Former Border Patrol Agents

Then-President Bush commuted their sentences before he left office

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the two former Border Patrol agents have had trouble finding work because of their criminal records. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the two former Border Patrol agents have had trouble finding work because of their criminal records. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:37am

California Rep. Duncan Hunterasked President Donald Trump to pardon two former Border Patrol agents who shot an unarmed marijuana smuggler at the Texas-Mexico border.

In a statement, Hunter said that the two agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean shot the smuggler in the back after he was thought to be brandishing a weapon, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“Rather than reward these agents for their $1 million seizure, a U.S. Attorney offered the drug smuggler immunity in exchange for testimony to prosecute and convict them,” Hunter said. 

Ramos and Compean were convicted in 2006 for assault with a dangeous weapon, tampering with official proceeding and other crimes.

Ramos was sentenced to 11 years in prison and Campean to 12 years but former President George W. Bush commuted their sentences in 2009 before leaving office. But the two still have criminal records.

At the time, neither Ramos nor Compean reported the shooting and admitted to throwing away evidence of the shooting.

Hunter noted that both Ramos and Compean have difficulty finding work and that the smuggler was later arrested and sentenced to nine years in prison.

“I believe that they deserve every consideration for a pardon due to the circumstances of the incident and I respectfully request that you instruct the Office of the Pardon Attorney to provide their cases full and fast attention,” Hunter said in his statement.

The Border Patrol agents’ case became a political cause at the time — those who favored tighter border security defended the agents while civil liberties groups pushed for their prosecution.