It’s no secret that law enforcement personnel will abuse their power and break the laws that they swore to enforce. Sometimes, that check from the state just isn’t enough and sworn officers will wild out and make more money illicitly. The latest example of such involves Ramon Antonio Monreal Rodriguez, a 32-year-old Border Patrol agent in Arizona. He is currently locked up on charges that he was trafficking a significant amount of drugs and buying guns illegally.
Monreal, a 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, resigned from the outfit on September 25 after he was arrested by the FBI in a case where he was federally indicted for hiring two men to help him buy guns. This is a separate case from the drug trafficking. According to court documents, the first incident involved a man named Cesar Enriquez Trejo. Enriquez tried to buy two limited-edition Colt model Jaguar Azul .38 Super pistols on behalf of Monreal with a backpack filled with $10,000 cash, according to the ATF. Through surveillance of Enriquez, ATF agents were able to trace gun sales to Monreal through sales records and video from a convenience store Monreal would cop money orders that Enriquez would sign, according to the affidavit. Monreal then used the money orders to buy the Colt pistols online and sent Enriquez to pick them up. Feds searched Monreal’s home on September 25 when he was arrested and found $62,000 cash. The cash was in a cardboard box, wrapped in black cardboard paper, and located next to a money counter in the master bedroom.
Monreal was released from custody on October 23, but was re-arrested the same day on separate drug trafficking charges. Tuscon.com reports:
While on duty around 1:30 a.m. Sept. 18, Monreal picked up the cocaine from smugglers in a wash near the San Miguel Gate, a border crossing used by members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and handed them the first payment of $334,000, the FBI special agent wrote. He kept the cocaine in his agency vehicle for the rest of his shift before turning it over to another smuggler. Four days later, he went back to the border while on duty and handed over $317,000 to the smugglers. Monreal’s payment was 6 pounds of narcotics and $66,000, the FBI special agent wrote.
At a hearing on October 25, Monreal sat shackled in an orange jumpsuit as U.S. Magistrate Judge D. Thomas Ferraro ordered that the disgraced Border Patrol agent to remain in custody. The judge ruled that federal prosecutor Gordon Davenport presented a “clear pattern of conduct” by Monreal. Ferraro also pointed out that alleged threats made by Monreal to his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, a corrections officer at a federal prison in Southern Arizona, played a part in the decision not to release him. According to the report, Monreal requested that his drug trafficking associate saved in his phone as “Compadre” give the boyfriend “a little tune-up,” according to audio messages obtained by the feds. He texted, “I need you to make her disappear,” to Compadre in regard to his ex. Compadre reportedly fell back from doing it, suggesting that they wait a year to do it, writing “Let things calm down and then we’ll do it. ”
Assistant federal public defender Elizabeth Lopez argued that Monreal should be released because he “had no criminal record, no history of mental issues and no substance abuse problems.” She also cited that Monreal had an extensive family in the Southern Arizona area, including four children.
Monreal remains in custody.