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Border Patrol Agents Convicted In Shooting Case To Be Fired

EL PASO, Texas (AP) – A pair of U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted in the wounding of a suspected drug smuggler will be fired, officials said Thursday.

In a brief written statement, the Border Patrol said federal law bars Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who have been on indefinite suspension without pay since their arrests last year, from keeping their jobs because they are convicted felons.

A federal jury convicted Ramos and Compean on Wednesday of several felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon, obstruction of justice and a civil rights violation. They were acquitted of assault with attempt to commit murder.

Robert W. Gilbert, the Border Patrol’s chief patrol agent in El Paso, said in a statement that Ramos and Compean’s actions would not overshadow the agency’s “long-standing tradition of honor, service and integrity to the country.” “We will not allow the poor decisions of a few to discredit the world class professionalism continually displayed by the men and women on America’s front line,” Gilbert said.

Federal prosecutors charged that the agents illegally shot a suspected drug smuggler and then tried to hide the crime. Both men testified that they only shot at Osvaldo Aldrete Davila because they believed he had a gun.

Aldrete testified during the two-week trial that he wasn’t armed. When sentenced June 8, the pair face up to life in prison because of the civil rights charge.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-09-06 1554EST

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