Los Angeles Times: Border Patrol is grappling with misconduct cases in its ranks (Sept 7 2010)
One by one, Border Patrol agents took the witness stand in the federal courthouse here last week to testify against a fellow officer, their faces creased with anguish.
By their accounts, Agent Jesus Enrique Diaz Jr., a husband and father with seven years on the job, tortured a 16[sic]-year-old drug smuggler two years ago by wrenching his handcuffed arms upward as he pressed a knee into his back. In an effort to make the boy reveal where he had hidden marijuana bundles near the Rio Grande, Diaz also kicked him and dropped him face-first on the ground, agents testified.
No one stopped the alleged assault as the 110-pound juvenile screamed, but some agents talked afterward about the “disgust” they felt and reported it. “I knew that what he was doing was wrong,” Agent Gabriel Lerma testified.
Note: All other accounts place the boy’s age at 15, not 16.
Washington Times: U.S. border agent jailed for improper arrest of suspected drug smuggler (Oct 25 2011)
A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been sentenced to two years in prison for improperly lifting the arms of a 15-year-old drug smuggling suspect while handcuffed — in what the Justice Department called a deprivation of the teenager’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force.
Agent Jesus E. Diaz Jr. was named in a November 2009 federal grand jury indictment with deprivation of rights under color of law during an October 2008 arrest near the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, in response to a report that illegal immigrants had crossed the river with bundles of drugs.
Fox News: U.S. Border Agent Jailed for Improper Arrest of Suspected Drug Smuggler (Oct 26 2011)
My San Antonio: Border Patrol agent gets prison for mistreating teen (Oct 27 2011)
A Border Patrol agent stationed in South Texas has been ordered to spend two years in prison for kicking and kneeing a teenager caught smuggling marijuana.
Prosecutors alleged that agent Jesus Enrique Diaz Jr. swept the legs out from under a 15-year-old Mexican citizen who was handcuffed after other agents caught him sneaking through a pecan orchard near Eagle Pass the night of Oct. 16, 2008.
Other agents said that after kicking the teen’s legs out from under him, Diaz drove his knee into the teen’s back, pulled his arms to a 90-degree angle from his back and demanded to know the location of pot hidden nearby.
Prosecutors also alleged Diaz lied to agents investigating the incident, according to trial transcripts.
El Paso Times: Advocacy groups say jailed ex-Border Patrol agent targeted (Oct 31 2011)
El Paso native Jesus “Chito” E. Diaz Jr. lost his career with the U.S. Border Patrol and ended up with a felony conviction after an encounter three years ago with a Mexican teenage drug smuggler on the South Texas border.
On Oct. 20, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludham sentenced Diaz to 24 months in prison for depriving a 15-year-old Mexican citizen of his constitutional rights under color of law.
Diaz was accused of pulling off the handcuffs on the boy, an admitted drug smuggler, slamming him to the ground, and pressing the youth’s back with his knee.
U.S. Department of Justice: Statement re: U.S. v. Jesus Enriquez Diaz, Jr. (Nov 1 2011)
On October 20, 2011, in case number DR-09-CR-1469-AM, former U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jesus Enrique Diaz, Jr., was sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release per count based upon his conviction for a Civil Rights violation and five counts of making false statements, all to run concurrently. In addition, the Court also ordered Diaz to pay a $6,000 fine, a $600 special assessment and $270.00 restitution to the victim in this case.
The case was originally indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2009, and superseded by the federal grand jury on March 3, 2010. On February 24, 2011, following a two-day trial, a federal jury seated in Del Rio, Texas, convicted Diaz of one count of deprivation of Civil Rights with bodily injury and five counts of making a false statement to federal agents.
The United States Attorney’s Office offers the following statement concerning the basis of these convictions:
Evidence presented during trial revealed that the defendant, Jesus E. Diaz, Jr., was a Border Patrol Agent stationed in Eagle Pass, Texas, on October 16, 2008. On that date, (M.B.E), who was fifteen years old and weighed 110 pounds, was caught illegally entering the United States from Mexico. Arresting agents testified that when M.B.E. was apprehended it was obvious to them that the
M.B.E. and his accomplice had been carrying backpacks (which are often used to smuggle marijuana) due to visible abrasions and strap marks on their shoulders. Eventually two bags of marijuana were found nearby. During trial, M.B.E. has admitted that he was smuggling marijuana at the time he was apprehended.
Court testimony also revealed that agents other than Agent Diaz initially apprehended and detained M.B.E., placing him in handcuffs and had him lie on the ground on his stomach. These agents testified they had M.B.E. fully under control when Diaz arrived on the scene. It was Diaz’s fellow Border Patrol Agents on the scene who testified they witnessed his misconduct, which they found shocking, and complained about it to their supervisor. During trial, those agents testified to the following facts: M.B.E. had been handcuffed and placed on his stomach before Diaz arrived. Upon his arrival at the scene, Agent Diaz began to interrogate M.B.E., asking him where the drugs were located. Agent Diaz lifted M.B.E. off the ground, then swept his feet out from under him. Witnesses said that M.B.E. had not tried to run and appeared to have been dropped to the ground without provocation. Once M.B.E. was back on the ground, Diaz knelt on M.B.E.’s back. One of the agents who was present testified that Diaz also kicked M.B.E. on the side.Courtroom testimony offered by Border Patrol agents on the scene also revealed Agent Diaz again began to question M.B.E. about the location of the drugs. He told an agent in training to hold M.B.E.’s feet, with M.B.E. again laying face down, while Agent Diaz began extending his handcuffed arms from behind his back until they were in their furthest, upmost position (perpendicular to his body). Agent Diaz held M.B.E.’s arms in this position while he continued to question M.B.E.. The agent in training testified he immediately released M.B.E.’s feet when he realized that Agent Diaz was employing what the trainee described as improper tactics intended to cause pain in order to gain information. M.B.E. screamed throughout this assault. Agent Diaz finally released tension on M.B.E.’s arms after asking other agents if they were convinced that M.B.E. did not know where the marijuana was located. Multiple witnesses testified that Diaz then told the trainee agents to take a walk.
Trial testimony also revealed that after being advised of his Miranda rights to remain silent and have a lawyer present, Agent Diaz told investigators that M.B.E. tried to run, that he never questioned M.B.E., that he did not use excessive force, that he never made the statement Trainees take a walk, and that he never instructed anyone to hold M.B.E.’s legs. All of these statements were contrary to the accounts of three or more Border Patrol witnesses.
Washington Times: Government demands payment from jailed ex-Border Patrol agent (Nov 10 2011)
The Justice Department this week sent a follow-up notice demanding former Border Patrol Agent Jesus E. Diaz Jr.’s family immediately pay nearly $7,000 and imposing a lien on his property, even though he remains in prison unable to pay and his family says a judge gave them a grace period.
It’s the second notice the Justice Department has sent to the family of Diaz, who was sentenced to prison for two years for using excessive force in arresting an illegal immigrant who was suspected of smuggling drugs. The new notice threatens new penalties if the money isn’t paid within 30 days.
Washington Times: Justice presses jailed agent for $7,000 in fines (Dec 7 2011)
… the Justice Department has told a jailed former Border Patrol agent it will start docking his commissary account as a way to begin assessing nearly $7,000 in fines, even though a judge told him he wouldn’t have to start paying immediately … they will begin taking $25 a month from his account at the prison commissary