border

Meth traffickers aren't able to dodge federal penalties

A pair of large-scale methamphetamine traffickers arrested in Jackson County last year could not escape steep federal prison sentences after attempting to rush plea deals through state court that carry shorter incarceration terms, officials said.

The suspects were arrested while driving on Interstate 5 in March of 2011. The two were arrested by the Oregon State Police in unrelated incidents, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

On March 16, an OSP trooper stopped Jamie Eugene Muniz, 28, from Sacramento, on the freeway near Ashland. A search of his car turned up 10 pounds of meth wrapped in eight packages and hidden in a secret compartment in the center console. The estimated street value of the meth was $600,700.

The meth was destined for sale in the Portland area, officials said.

Four days later, an OSP trooper stopped a car driven by Francisco Hernandez-Figueroa, 29, of San Rafael, Mexico, on the freeway near Medford.

A search of the car found that it had been wired with an electronic activation system leading to two hidden compartments located behind the side panels in the rear passenger compartment. A switch hidden in the steering column opened the secret compartments, revealing 16 packages wrapped in black duct tape.

A total of 15 pounds of high-quality meth, with a street value of $870,000, was packed in the compartments.

Troopers also found $4,500 in $100 bills, believed to be proceeds from drug trafficking. The meth was bound for Seattle, officials said.

Law enforcement found that Hernandez-Figueroa had illegally entered the country with the intent of selling the large haul of meth.

Within a few days of their arrest both men demanded to plead guilty to the drug charges in state court. Their defense attorney advised them to do so to avoid a possible longer federal sentence, officials said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office had not reviewed the cases by the time each entered guilty pleas in state court, officials said.

Both were sentenced to nearly five years in Oregon prison, officials said.

However, this did not stop federal prosecutors from pursuing drug-trafficking crimes against the men. U.S. District Judge Owen Panner then sentenced Hernandez-Figueroa to 10 years in federal prison, while Muniz received five years of federal time.

The sentences will be served concurrently with the state convictions, officials said.

"These were some of the largest seizures of nearly 100 percent pure methamphetamine in Southern Oregon," said Amanda Marshall, U.S. Attorney for Oregon, in a news release. "The Department of Justice authorized our prosecution because the state convictions and sentences did not adequately vindicate the interest the United States has in prosecuting major drug traffickers."

Missing the point on immigration

A recent report on immigration enforcement from the Migration Policy Institute, touted in these pages by one of its authors Beyond secure borders, op-ed, Jan 7, was both mistaken and missed the point. The news release about the report announced: "The U.S. government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined."

This finding was the basis of widespread media coverage and will, as intended, be cited in the coming congressional debate over President Obama's plans to legalize the illegal-immigrant population and increase legal immigration beyond the level of 1 million people each year. The political purpose of the report is to enable supporters of the president's approach, both Democrats and Republicans, to claim that the "enforcement first" demand that sank President George W. Bush's amnesty effort in 2007 has finally been satisfied, so no legitimate objection remains to "moving beyond" enforcement.

The first problem with this is that the report's central claim is false. As the names of the relevant agencies suggest — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — much of what they do has nothing to do with immigration. Recent ICE news releases, for instance, highlight a drug seizure, the sentencing of a child pornographer and a guilty plea by someone trying to smuggle dinosaur fossils. Important activities, no doubt, but ones clearly unrelated to immigration enforcement.

Beyond that, the report focuses on the wrong thing. In typical Washington bureaucratic fashion, it confuses resource inputs with policy results. There has indeed been a significant increase in funding for immigration enforcement, and this increase was desperately needed after decades of neglect — something that became undeniable after 9/11. But to claim, as Doris Meissner wrote in The Post, that a certain percentage increase in appropriated funds has allowed the nation to build "a formidable immigration enforcement machinery" is incorrect.

The report suggests that the billions spent on immigration enforcement have reached a point of diminishing returns. But take the example of the U.S. Border Patrol, a CBP agency. The number of agents has doubled over the past decade, to more than 21,000. That seems impressive until you consider that the Border Patrol is still smaller than the New York Police Department — and has 8,000 miles to monitor. It's certainly possible that the Border Patrol doesn't need more agents, but that's not evident merely by doubling the previously small number of agents.

Something similar can be said of deportations: As the report and administration spokesmen have pointed out, the number of people deported (technically, "removed") is at a record level: about 400,000 per year. But the steady growth in the number of deportations, starting in the Clinton administration, came to a halt with Obama's inauguration. Perhaps 400,000 deportations a year, out of 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants, is enough but not just because it's a record.

And although one might be able to argue that the U.S. immigration enforcement machinery is adequate at the border or for deportations, fundamental pieces are still not in place despite the money that has been spent. For instance, the online E-Verify screening system is still not used for all new hires. The Social Security Administration and the IRS know the identities and locations of millions of people who are in this country illegally but shield them based on a fanciful interpretation of privacy law. The United States has only the most rudimentary system for tracking the departures of foreign visitors — and if you don't know who has left the country, you can't know who is still here. This is important because nearly half of the illegal-immigrant population came here legally but then didn't leave.

These are not trivial, last-minute agenda items designed to postpone consideration of an amnesty. An immigration enforcement machinery that lacks these elements is simply incomplete.

And any law enforcement infrastructure is only as effective as the use to which it is put. The Obama administration has made clear that it views immigration violations as secondary matters, like not wearing a seat belt, which can lead to a citation only if some other, "real" law is violated. The most lavishly funded, gold-plated enforcement system in the world can't make up for systematic nullification of the immigration law through prosecutorial discretion, deferred action and other means used by this administration to protect illegal immigrants.

Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
 

Senator Wyden to hold Town Halls in your area - plan to attend

Alert date: 
January 11, 2013
Alert body: 

Senator Ron Wyden has scheduled several town halls in January. Please plan to attend, invite a friend to go along with you and question his immigration views.

President Obama recently announced as a high priority now, enactment by Congress of an amnesty for illegal aliens. Leaders of the Democratic Party support this, as well as some in the Republican Party. Also there will be new efforts to grant instate tuition to illegal aliens. These moves are very dangerous to our country, as they legitimize illegal immigration and encourage more of it, bringing disrespect for the rule of law which is the foundation of civilized society.

Amnesty will hurt all citizens, employed and unemployed, by greatly increasing numbers of legal job seekers at a time of grave economic stress, and by inflating the population when our environment is already seriously degraded from overpopulation. Seven massive amnesties have been passed in recent years, each one resulting in ever-increasing numbers of illegal immigrants. A 2012 Rasmussen poll showed that 60% of likely voters think gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers.

Times and places for the town halls are listed below. You can get driving directions and maps from links on Sen. Wyden’s website: http://www.wyden.senate.gov/oregon/events.

Here’s a good article on the best way to stop illegal immigration: “Attrition Through Enforcement Is the True Middle-ground Solution.”

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/learn/issues/american-workers/attrition-through-enforcement-true-middl.html

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings of Senator Ron Wyden

Clatsop County Town Hall Meeting

Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 - 9:30AM

Seaside High School, 1901 North Holladay Drive, Seaside, OR

 

Columbia County Town Hall Meeting

Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 - 1:00PM

Vernonia High School, 1000 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia, OR

 

Marion County Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 - 9:30AM

South Salem High School, 1910 Church St SE, Salem, OR

 

Polk County Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 - 2:00PM

Polk County Readiness Center, 12835 Westview Drive, Dallas, OR

 

Clackamas County Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 - 9:20AM

Estacada High School, 355 Northeast 6th Avenue, Estacada, OR

 

Wasco County Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 - 9:30AM

The Dalles Wahtonka High School, 220 East 10th Street, The Dalles, OR

 

Hood River County Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 - 1:00PM

Hood River Middle School, 1602 May Street, Hood River, OR

OFIR Communications Directors' Op-Ed published

One of OFIR's founders and the current Communications Director of OFIR, Jim Ludwick wrote a great Op-Ed about why our Legislators should be looking at ways to discourage illegal immigration instead of finding even more ways to accommodate illegal aliens in our state and invite even more to come here.

 

 


 

Senator Jeff Merkley Town Hall meetings in the area - plan to attend!

Alert date: 
January 8, 2013
Alert body: 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 @ 1:30 PM
Marion County Town Hall

Keizer Civic Center
930 Chemawa Road NE
Keizer, OR 97303

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 @ 4:30 PM
Clackamas County Town Hall
Ohana Christian Fellowship of Seventh Day Adventists
1180 Rosemont Road
West Linn, OR 97068

If you are uncertain what to say, read this article before you attend.  Senator Merkley needs to hear from concerned Oregonians about the issue of illegal immigration and his abysmal NumbersUSA grades.

 

News Flash: DRUG WARS producer Rusty Fleming coming to Salem

Alert date: 
January 2, 2013
Alert body: 

OFIR is honored to welcome Rusty Fleming, award winning producer of DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead, a chilling documentary.

Join OFIR, Saturday, January 26th from 1 - 4 pm at the Salem Public Library - Loucks Auditorium. 

Learn what you should know, must know, but DON'T know about drug cartels.  

Embedded in a vicious and violent drug cartel, Rusty filmed this documentary to teach us what we all need to understand about Mexican drug cartels and their malignant movement into our country and right here in our community.  Meet the man that has been in the belly of the beast!

Invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and anyone you know with children to join you for this FREE event.  Donations appreciated.

If you have questions, please call 504.435.0141.  Don't miss this unique opportunity to get educated.

CAIN TV reports:

Award winning producer, director, author and consultant for 25 years, Rusty started his multi-media company to produce industrial films, commercials and news segments.

Rusty is recognized by national media and law enforcement agencies as an expert on the Mexican drug cartels. Rusty has studied the cartels from the inside out, interviewing dozens of active cartel operatives from Mexico and the U.S., ranging from street dealers to the upper management of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in existence today.

Since producing the award winning documentary, Drug Wars: Silver or Lead, Rusty has spent the past seven years traveling throughout Latin America reporting for international television and radio broadcasts. He has made multiple appearances with MSNBC, CNN and FOX. In addition, he has produced multiple episodes of Gangland for The History Channel and still produced other episodic shows for A&E, Discovery Channel and National Geographic networks.

His first book on the subject "Narco-Warfare in the 21st Century" published in early 2009 details the story of how Rusty was able to get inside one cartel revealing the operational tactics they employ to run their criminal syndicates. The book serves as a roadmap as to how the cartels have evolved and the consequences of continuing to minimize and dismiss their true objectives.

Rusty lives in Sierra Blanca, Texas where he and Sheriff Arvin West have built a faith-based drug and alcohol rehab for men and women called Ranch on the Rock. Rusty also works with the Hudspeth County Sheriff's office as Public Information Officer.

Four arrested near elementary school

Four people were arrested in Hermiston on Saturday for possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of weapons and frequenting a place of drugs.

Miguel Angel Alvarado Samaniego, 44, of Hermiston, Laurie Estrada Galindo, 35, of Hermiston, Juan Castillo Gordian, 29, of Mt. Hood, and Obispo Enriquez Valesquez, 21, of Mt. Hood, were arrested on multiple accounts of unlawful possession of controlled substances, forged instruments, weapons and firearms. Samaniego had a warrant in Umatilla County for failure to appear to court and Galindo is a registered felon.

ICE HOLD - Miguel Angel Alvarado Samaniego, Juan Castillo Gordian, Obispo Enriquez Valesquez

Appeals court continues border agent's 'Twilight Zone'

Advocates for a U.S .Border Patrol agent sent to prison for arresting a suspect carrying 75 pounds of drugs into the United States are seeking a presidential pardon after an appeals court affirmed the agent’s 24-month sentence.

Jesus E. “Chito” Diaz Jr. was convicted of using extra force in the apprehensive of the suspect, identified as “MBE,” despite the fact the juvenile suspect was returned to Mexico almost immediately without any complaint “that he was injured, hurt, or in pain.”

The Mexican government, which several times has gotten involved in U.S. prosecutions of U.S. Border Patrol agents over its treatment of Mexicans caught carrying drugs into the United States, then demanded a prosecution by the U.S. because MBE was arrested “with excessive force” and he “complained about the incident.”

On appeal, Diaz’ defense argued the trial judge said the case looked like nothing more than a misdemeanor, but the conviction was on a felony.

“Yet, the court affirms the lower court’s decision?” wrote Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council. “Just as it has in prior cases where the government has been hellbent to make victims out of illegal alien narco-terrorists, and turn law enforcement officers into out of control, vicious thugs with badges? We don’t buy it, for this case fits the pattern and does not pass the smell test.”

The reaction came after the conviction of Diaz was affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ramirez said his organization now will seek a presidential pardon “as this purely political case against Agent Diaz is a travesty sought out by the Mexican government in another message prosecution.”

“The Diaz case and decision by the appellate court to affirm the conviction against him continues a pattern of overreaching prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice especially in the Western District of Texas that include well documented cases against former USBP Agents Gary Brugman, Ramos and Compean, Noe Aleman, former FBI Special Agent in Charge Hardrick Crawford, Jr, and former Edwards County Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez,” Ramirez said.

Diaz issued a statement through the organization: “My family and I are deeply disappointed in the 5th Circuit’s decision on my appeal considering the fact that the presiding judge during oral commented during oral arguments that this looked more like a misdemeanor than a felony.”

Sign a petition demanding Jesus Diaz be freed from a case launched because of pressure from the Mexican government.

E. Grady Jolly, the trial judge, said: “Nobody’s arguing, really, that the officer did the right thing or that it can be justified so much. The question is it just sounds more like a misdemeanor instead of a felony to me.”

Ramirez said the goal is a presidential pardon, after Diaz’ trip through the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution and an El Paso Texas halfway house and since he’s just days ago been restored to his wife and children.

“It is unconscionable that the case, which was pushed by the Mexican government, and included documented suborned perjury, could be affirmed in the favor of the so-called victim, MBE, a narco-terrorist illegal alien,” said Ramirez.

The organization said the drug-running suspect was covered with gang tattoos and had been the subject of a “be on lookout” warning from the Border Patrol already.

Also, far from being injured in the arrest, the only “markings” on MBE were “those from the straps on his shoulders … while carrying 75 lbs of bundled marijuana,” the organization said.

WND reported Diaz was found guilty of denying the teenager his constitutional rights by applying excessive force during the arrest. He was accused eventually of violating the smuggler’s rights by forcing him to the ground during his arrest, handcuffing him, then pulling on his arms to coerce him into complying with orders.

 


Jesus Diaz Jr.

The audio of the trial judge’s comments have been posted on the LEOAC site.

In it, Jolly stated, “Nobody’s arguing, really, that the officer did the right thing or that it can be justified so much. The question is it just sounds more like a misdemeanor instead of a felony to me.”

According to the FreeAgentDiaz.com website, Diaz was “maliciously prosecuted at the request of the Mexican consul in Eagle Pass, Texas.”

The legal case against the officer was “solely motivated by politics and is yet another example of prosecutorial abuse and misconduct while protecting Mexico’s narco-terror influences,” organizers of the website said.

According to the discovery documents, other agents, hours after the alleged incident, claimed to an off-duty Border Patrol officer that Diaz used “excessive force” on the drug smuggler. That’s even though the suspect “was processed for voluntary return to Mexico by BPA Marco A. Ramirez, and subsequently returned to Mexico on the same date.”

None of the other agents thought the case significant enough to try to stop it at the time.

Several members of Congress, including Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Lamar Smith of the House Judiciary Committee, had been asked to look into the case.

Diaz’ wife earlier said she was outraged because the government told her that her husband would not be allowed to return home even after serving his prison term.

That’s because she also is a Border Patrol agent and is armed.

“I have to ask what does the DOJ want me to do? I can’t retire, I’m too young. Divorcing him is not an option as he would still have to come around for the children. What is Chito going to do about his brother, not see him for the next five years? He carries a gun,” Diana Diaz said in a statement released at the time.

The group has called for the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate the case.

WND reported when the federal government started reaching into the prison commissary fund belonging to Diaz to address part of a $7,000 fine imposed by the judge. That’s even though the court earlier told Diaz the fine would not be paid until after his jail sentence.

 

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

Border watchers will remember the extended battle fought by Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean after they were prosecuted, convicted and jailed, again at the request of the Mexican government, for shooting at and striking a drug smuggler who reportedly dropped a load in the U.S. and was fleeing back to Mexico.

Their punishments ultimately were commuted by President George W. Bush, although they did not receive pardons, leaving the convictions on their records.

Their original case stemmed from the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila. The two officers said they thought Aldrete-Davila was armed and made a threatening move.

WND was among the first to report Aldrete-Davila then committed a second drug offense, smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while he was under the protection of immunity from federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton’s office and in possession of a border-pass card authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.

WND also reported when Aldrete-Davila admitted to federal drug smuggling charges, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for 57 months.

Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity for his drug smuggling by federal prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the agents. He had crossed the Rio Grande and picked up a marijuana-loaded vehicle near El Paso. After a car chase in which he fled from the officers, he abandoned the vehicle and ran back across the border on foot. He was shot in the buttocks as he ran.

Saturday, January 26th, 1-4pm - DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead, a documentary

Alert date: 
January 11, 2013
Alert body: 

This is an event you will not want to miss:  DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead is a chilling documentary about the malignant spread of drug cartel presence in our country, our state and right here in our community.  OFIR is honored to welcome Rusty Fleming, award winning producer of DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead. 

Join OFIR, Saturday, January 26th from 1 - 4 pm at the Salem Public Library - Loucks Auditorium.

Learn what you should know, must know, but DON'T know about drug cartels.

Embedded in a vicious and violent drug cartel, Rusty filmed this documentary to teach us what we all need to understand about Mexican drug cartels and their malignant movement into our country and right here in our community. Meet the man that has been in the belly of the beast.Embedded in a vicious and violent drug cartel, Rusty filmed this documentary to teach us what we all need to understand about Mexican drug cartels and their malignant movement into our country and right here in our community. Meet the man that has been in the belly of the beast!

The High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (HIDTA) identifies eight counties in Oregon with critical drug problems.   

The I-5 corridor is a favored route among drug runners smuggling drugs from Mexico into Oregon, Washington and Canada. We are in harms way everyday and must become educated about what is really happening on our streets, in our schools and even at our kids parties.

If you have teens, friends with teens, grandchildren that are teens or neighbors with teens, please invite them to join you at this FREE event.                  

Apathy and ignorance of this issue is not an excuse, it's a major part of the problem.

If you have questions about this event, would like more information, or think that you could contribute to this program in a positive way, please contact us at 503.435.0141.

NOTE:  This award winning documentary is not a Hollywood movie, it's an actual, factual, behind the scenes look at how cartels operate and the dangers they pose for our children and our society.  Portions of this film are sickening and horrific, but true.  Please, be advised and prepare your children in advance.

NOTE:  The producer of the documentary recommends that children as young as 10 should see this movie.  Gangs and cartels are targeting even younger children now.  Shockingly, eight year olds are the new cartel target for drug addiction.  Every child is at risk.

Fugitive returned to Oregon after 17 years

A man sought for 17 years in connection with a 1995 fatal traffic crash in Marion County was returned to Oregon on Thursday after his arrest about a year ago on federal charges after entering the country illegally from Mexico. In January 2012, border patrol agents from the Casa Grande, Ariz., Station took a man into custody for illegally entering the United States. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System notified agents about an active warrant for vehicular homicide hailing from 1995 in Marion County, Ore. The Marion County District Attorney’s office, in collaboration with Tucson Sector Border Patrol Agents, identified the man as Jose Luis Sanchez, 38.

At the time of the crash, Sanchez was 21 years old and lived in Prineville. Oregon State Police reported that the single vehicle crash occurred at 1:20 a.m. on Highway 22 about six miles west of Idanha. Sanchez was driving a passenger car westbound at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate a curve, OSP reported.

The car traveled across the highway and collided with several trees. The passenger in the vehicle, Jesus Gonzalez-Sanchez, 22, of Prineville, was pronounced dead on the scene. Sanchez was seriously injured and taken to a Portland-area hospital.

Since Sanchez was arrested he had been held in federal custody and pleaded guilty on federal charges. After he was sentenced, he was taken to Oregon for an arraignment in Marion County Circuit Court on charges related to the fatal car crash.

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