Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Ice Man

It’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it quick. According to The Observer, December 3, 2006 (,,1962643,00.html) —

The Immigration and Customs Executive, part of the Department of Homeland Security, hired an informant for an operation against a group of traffickers. The informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, aka Lalo, was a former Mexican police officer who left the force to deal cocaine. He started working for us, so to speak, in 2000; and he gave information to the I.C.E., the D.E.A., the F.B.I., and the B.A.T.F. He successfully infiltrated the drug ring. His drug bosses enlisted him for the murder of a lawyer, and Lalo was wearing a wire. It was first degree murder, and the I.C.E. could hear the victim pleading for his life.

That information eventually reached the U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General. I.C.E. continued using Lalo, but the other agencies didn’t know that. Over the course of his work, Lalo was paid $220,000. And he killed a dozen more people. In 2004, in a case of mistaken identity, Lalo killed Luis Padilla, a U.S. citizen unconnected to the dealers; and I.C.E. had recordings of the event.

The drug bosses tried and failed to kill a D.E.A. agent; and Lalo was in contact with the would-be killers as the attempt unfolded. I.C.E. debriefed Lalo but wouldn’t allow the D.E.A. to question him. Sandy Gonzalez, the D.E.A. agent in charge of the El Paso office, wrote a letter to I.C.E. holding them responsible for Lalo’s murder spree. Gonzalez noted that I.C.E. had gone to “extreme lengths” to protect a “homicidal maniac.”

I.C.E. and the Department of Justice wanted to keep a lid on the story. Gonzalez, a 30-year veteran of the D.E.A., was told he would be downgraded. If he retired quickly and quietly, he would be given a positive reference for future employers. Otherwise, things might not be so positive. He resigned and then filed a lawsuit.

A gunman in El Paso tried to murder Lalo but missed and killed an innocent bystander instead. Lalo was taken into protective custody; and then I.C.E. began deportation proceedings against their valued informant to send him to Mexico, where he would certainly be killed. For now, he is in prison fighting to stay in the U.S. The drug boss he killed for cut a deal with the feds. He pleaded quilty to trafficking and all of the murder charges against him were dropped.


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