The DEA and Justice Department in Washington got a high level informant placed with one of the worst Mexican drug cartels. He captures on tape his own involvement in a drug killing. Despite the evidence they now have against the target for murder and drug traficking and despite guestions about their own informant's involvement, high level officials in Washington decide to do nothing and gather more evidence. After the informant reports on over a dozen more killings an agent in the DEA protests their lack of concern over murders and their almost letting another DEA agent and his family get killed. He is fired and meanwhile an American resident is mistakenly killed in the growing death toll. The person in charge in Washington who let the investigation slowly continue is a friend of President Bush. The American resident mistakenly killed leaves a wife, Janet Padilla, and three children.
Earlier this year Sutton was appointed chairman of the Attorney General's advisory committee which, says the official website, 'plays a significant role in determining policies and programmes of the department and in carrying out the national goals set by the President and the Attorney General'. Sutton's position as US Attorney for Western Texas is further evidence of his long friendship with the President - falling into his jurisdiction is Midland, the town where Bush grew up, and Crawford, the site of Bush's beloved ranch.Link from Raw Story.
'Sutton could and should have shut down the case, there and then,' says Bill Weaver, a law professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who has made a detailed study of the affair. 'He could have told Ice and the lawyers "go with what you have, and let's try to bring Santillan to justice". That neither he nor anyone else decided to take that action invites an obvious inference: that because the only people likely to get killed were Mexicans, they thought it didn't much matter.'
In the days after Reyes's death, officials in Texas and Washington held a series of meetings. Finally word came back from headquarters - despite the risk that Lalo might become involved with further murders, Ice could continue to use and pay him as an informant. And although Santillan had already been caught on tape directing a merciless killing and might well kill again, no attempt would be made to arrest him.
On 24 February, Sandy Gonzalez, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA office in El Paso, one of the most senior and highly decorated Hispanic law enforcement officers in America, wrote to his Ice counterpart, John Gaudioso.
'I am writing to express to you my frustration and outrage at the mishandling of investigation that has resulted in unnecessary loss of human life,' he began, 'and endangered the lives of special agents of the DEA and their immediate families. There is no excuse for the events that culminated during the evening of 14 January... and I have no choice but to hold you responsible.' Ice, Gonzalez wrote, had gone to 'extreme lengths' to protect an informant who was, in reality, a 'homicidal maniac... this situation is so bizarre that, even as I'm writing to you, it is difficult for me to believe it'.
But Ice and its allies in the DoJ were covering up their actions, helped by the US media - aside from the Dallas Morning News, not one major newspaper or TV network has covered the story.
Gonzalez was told that Sutton was 'extremely upset'. Gonzalez, who had enjoyed glittering appraisals throughout his 30-year career, was told he would be downgraded. On 4 May, DEA managers in Washington sent him a letter. It said that, if he quietly retired before 30 June, he would be given a 'positive' reference for future employers. If he refused, a reference would dwell on his 'lapse'. Gonzalez resigned, and launched a lawsuit - part of which is due to come to court tomorrow.