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Ramsey Muniz Update

By: Irma Muniz 

Dear Friends:    

Below are excerpts of the last appeal submitted by Ramsey Muniz. 

(See the attached at the bottom of this page) 

The appeal cites the trial transcript and describes how the government maneuvered and set up Ramsey Muniz to obtain a conviction at any cost – intentionally, maliciously, and with deceit. Feel free to share this legal document. It is public court information.    

The judge did not rule in our favor, but this does not change truth. It does not remove the manner in which the government maneuvered and set up Ramsey Muniz to obtain a wrongful conviction.    

We send this information for the sake of our supporters, and to share the facts with the general public. The National Committee to Free Ramsey Muniz asks that readers forward this information to law students and organizations and that are concerned about freeing those who are wrongfully incarcerated. 

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STATEMENT OF FACTS 

Ramsey Ramiro Muniz was arrested on March 11, 1994, in Lewisville, Texas. The events leading to his arrest began in Houston the day before that date. (T.R. 197-1990).     

On March 10, 1994, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Kimberly Elliott received a telephone call in Dallas from the DEA Office in Houston asking her to maintain surveillance on a man (later identified as Donacio Medina) flying from Houston and arriving at Dallas’s Love field. (Id.). At approximately 6:00 p.m. on that date, Agent Elliott saw a man at Love Field airport fitting the description supplied by the Houston DEA office meet Muniz in the airport. The two of them were met at the curb by a man driving a gray car. (T.R. 100-200, 390). The gray car, with three people in it, was followed north from the airport to the Frisco, Texas, area when the surveillance was discontinued. (T.R. 200).    

Soon after the surveillance had been discontinued, Agent Elliott received another phone call from the Houston DEA office during which she was given a telephone and a room number for a Ramada Inn in Lewisville, Texas. (T.R. 201-202). Agent Elliott went to the Ramada Inn at 10:30 p.m. on March 10, 1994, and spoke with some of its employees. (T.R. 202). She learned that Muniz had checked into the Ramada Inn under his own name. She took copies of his business card left by him at the front desk and of the telephone toll records for the motel’s rooms. (T.R. 204-206). Agent Elliott also wrote down the license plate of the card parked in the parking lot. (T.R. 202), Surveillance was discontinued until the following morning.  

Page 2 of Appeal 

B.   Trial counsel failed to raise an entrapment defense when Movant-Appellant acting as a legal assistant became the target of a DEA investigation through his client acting as an informant. 

Page 3 of Appeal 

In this regard, and based on the facts of this case, Muniz’s initial contention is that the trial counsel failed to request the affirmative defense of entrapment. Muniz asserts that he was induced to violate the law by the activities of Donacio Medina, a government agent. Once Medina decided to cooperate with the DEA in Houston, he was, for the purposes of the entrapment doctrine, acting for the government. United States v. Martinez-Carcano, 557 F.2d 966, 970 (5th Cir. 1977). Thereafter, there was ample evidence of government inducement in the limited sense applicable here. For example, prior to the fact that Muniz accepted the keys from Juan Gonzales and moved the white car from the Ramada Inn to the La Quinta Inn on the morning of March 11, 1994, there was a lot of speculation, innuendo, and conjecture that attempted to show that Muniz knew there was cocaine in the trunk of the white car. But the real issue here is the ultimate question basic to all claims of entrapment: Was Muniz ready and willing to commit the offense if given the opportunity to do so, or was Muniz just an innocent victim of a government set up?    

Muniz claims the answers to these questions would have developed better at trial if counsel would have requested the defense of entrapment. Evidence adduced at trial clearly showed that Muniz was in Dallas to visit clients. Medina was a client recommended by Moises Andrade, a prominent businessman from Matamoros, Mexico. (T.R. 969). There is no evidence to show that Medina and Muniz were acquainted prior to their meeting at Dallas’ Love Field. In fact, the evidence proves contrary.    

Thus, this transient relationship begs the questions: How often do drug dealers do an $800,000 deal with a perfect stranger? Who supplied the cocaine? Who was supposed to receive the cocaine? Ostensibly, the government is unconcerned. The conclusion is obvious. Medina was supposed to put the cocaine in the hands of Ramsey Muniz. Muniz was the target of the DEA sting operation from its inception. And Medina was the confidential informant who set up the deal.    

In its opinion, the Fifth Circuit stated that Agents had reasonable suspicion justifying stop of defendants where agents knew that they were connected with activity of suspected drug trafficker with whom the DEA was negotiating a drug sale. United States v. Gonzales, 79 F.3d 413, 422 (5th Cir. 1996). Indeed, the deal was done insofar as the Dallas’ DEA agents were concerned. Their objective was accomplished. Dallas DEA agents knew from the beginning what was going to happen from the time Medina left Houston until the scheduled meeting with Muniz and the DEA at 10:00 a.m. on March 11, 1994. The DEA through Medina acting as their agent were in complete control of the situation. There is no other explanation why DEA Agent Elliott was able to break off surveillance at 11:00 p.m. on March 10, 1994, and reassemble at 8:45 a.m. the following morning. They knew the cocaine had arrived and was stashed in the trunk of the white car. They knew the cocaine would not be transported during the night because they had scheduled the deal to go down at approximately 10:00 a.m. on the morning of March 11, 1994. They knew Medina would be taken to the airport at Love Field, and they knew that Muniz and Gonzales were supposed to move the car to the La Quinta Inn. They were just waiting for Muniz and Gonzales to get into the car and move it before they could make the arrest under a pretextual investigative stop.    

Furthermore, Fed-Ex driver Gallardo testified that he took Medina to the Classic Inn. When Medina did not see the car he was looking for at the Classic Inn, he asked Gallardo to take him to the Ramada Inn in Lewisville, Texas. Presumably, Medina was looking for the white car which had already been moved to the Ramada Inn by Hernandez who was registered at the Classic Inn from March 6 thru 10, 1994. Id. at 424, 425. The question of how the white car arrived at the parking lot of the Ramada Inn was never answered. However, it was confirmed later by Agent Elliott after she wrote down the license plates that the white car was indeed located at the Ramada Inn before she broke off surveillance at 11:00 p.m. on March 10, 1994.    

Upon their arrival at the Ramada Inn around 10:30 p.m. on March 10, 1994, Gallardo and Medina saw Muniz carrying a bag of groceries. (T.R. 903). Muniz and Medina went into the lobby together where Medina was hailed by a young man in his mid-to-late twenties. At that time, Medina took leave of Muniz’s company and was not seen by Muniz again until the following morning at approximately 8:30 a.m. Apparently, the young man in his mid-to-late twenties was Danny Hernandez. After parking the white car in the parking lot, he waited for Medina to arrive. All these events that occurred prior to the time that Muniz was arrested after driving the white car happened without Muniz’s knowledge. Knowledge is precisely the element of the offenses charged that was not successfully challenged by defense counsel at trial.    

The government has the burden to prove each element of the offenses, and that one element of the offense in question is the “knowing” action by Muniz. The word “knowingly” means that the act was done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident. United States v.Rubio, 834 F.2d 442, 448 (5th Cr. 1987).

                                         www.freeramsey.com 

For additional information, contact the National Committee to Free Ramsey Muniz at imuniz1310@earthlink.net. 

STATEMENT OF FACTS

            Ramsey Ramiro Muniz was arrested on March 11, 1994, in Lewisville, Texas. The events leading to his arrest began in Houston the day before that date. (T.R. 197-1990). [1]

            On March 10, 1994, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Kimberly Elliott received a telephone call in Dallas from the DEA Office in Houston asking her to maintain surveillance on a man (later identified as Donacio Medina) flying from Houston and arriving at Dallas’s Love field. (Id.). At approximately 6:00 p.m. on that date, Agent Elliott saw a man at Love Field airport fitting the description supplied by the Houston DEA office meet Muniz in the airport. The two of them were met at the curb by a man driving a gray car. (T.R. 100-200, 390). The gray car, with three people in it, was followed north from the airport to the Frisco, Texas, area when the surveillance was discontinued. (T.R. 200).

            Soon after the surveillance had been discontinued, Agent Elliott received another phone call from the Houston DEA office during which she was given a telephone and a room number for a Ramada Inn in Lewisville, Texas. (T.R. 201-202). Agent Elliott went to the Ramada Inn at 10:30 p.m. on March 10, 1994, and spoke with some of its employees. (T.R. 202). She learned that Muniz had checked into the Ramada Inn under his own name. She took copies of his business card left by him at the front desk and of the telephone toll records for the motel’s rooms. (T.R. 204-206). Agent Elliott also wrote down the license plate of the card parked in the parking lot. (T.R. 202), Surveillance was discontinued until the following morning. Page 2 of Appeal 

B.        Trial counsel failed to raise an entrapment defense when Movant-Appellant acting as a legal assistant became the target of a DEA investigation through his client acting as an informant. 

Page 3 of Appeal 

            In this regard, and based on the facts of this case, Muniz’s initial contention is that the trial counsel failed to request the affirmative defense of entrapment. Muniz asserts that he was induced to violate the law by the activities of Donacio Medina, a government agent. Once Medina decided to cooperate with the DEA in Houston, he was, for the purposes of the entrapment doctrine, acting for the government. United States v. Martinez-Carcano, 557 F.2d 966, 970 (5th Cir. 1977). Thereafter, there wa ample evidence of government inducement in the limited sense applicable here. For example, prior to the fact that Muniz accepted the keys from Juan Gonzales and moved the white car from the Ramada Inn to the La Quinta Inn on the morning of March 11, 1994, there was a lot of speculation, innuendo, and conjecture that attempted to show that Muniz knew there was cocaine in the trunk of the white car. But the real issue here is the ultimate question basic to all claims of entrapment: Was Muniz ready and willing to commit the offense if given the opportunity to do so, or was Muniz just an innocent victim of a government set up?

            Muniz claims the answers to these questions would have developed better at trial if counsel would have requested the defense of entrapment. Evidence adduced at trial clearly showed that Muniz was in Dallas to visit clients. Medina was a client recommended by Moises Andrade, a prominent businessman from Matamoros, Mexico. (T.R. 969). There is no evidence to show that Medina and Muniz were acquainted prior to their meeting at Dallas’ Love Field. In fact, the evidence proves contrary.

            Thus, this transient relationship begs the questions: How often do drug dealers do an $800,000 deal with a perfect stranger? Who supplied the cocaine? Who was supposed to receive the cocaine? Ostensibly, the government is unconcerned. The conclusion is obvious. Medina was supposed to put the cocaine in the hands of Ramsey Muniz. Muniz was the target of the DEA sting operation from its inception. And Medina was the confidential informant who set up the deal.

            In its opinion, the Fifth Circuit stated that Agents had reasonable suspicion justifying stop of defendants where agents knew that they were connected with activity of suspected drug trafficker with whom the DEA was negotiating a drug sale. United States v. Gonzales, 79 F.3d 413, 422 (5th Cir. 1996). Indeed, the deal was done insofar as the Dallas’ DEA agents were concerned. Their objective was accomplished. Dallas DEA agents knew from the beginning what was going to happen from the time Medina left Houston until the scheduled meeting with Muniz and the DEA at 10:00 a.m. on March 11, 1994. The DEA through Medina acting as their agent were in complete control of the situation. There is no other explanation why DEA Agent Elliott was able to break off surveillance at 11:00 p.m. on March 10, 1994, and reassemble at 8:45 a.m. the following morning. They knew the cocaine had arrived and was stashed in the trunk of the white car. They knew the cocaine would not be transported during the night because they had scheduled the deal to go down at approximately 10:00 a.m. on the morning of March 11, 1994. They knew Medina would be taken to the airport at Love Field, and they knew that Muniz and Gonzales were supposed to move the car to the La Quinta Inn. They were just waiting for Muniz and Gonzales to get into the car and move it before they could make the arrest under a pretextual investigative stop.

            Furthermore, Fed-Ex driver Gallardo testified that he took Medina to the Classic Inn. When Medina did not see the car he was looking for at the Classic Inn, he asked Gallardo to take him to the Ramada Inn in Lewisville, Texas. Presumably, Media was looking for the white car which had already been moved to the Ramada Inn by Hernandez who was registered at the Classic Inn from March 6 thru 10, 1994. Id. at 424, 425. The question of how the white car arrived at the parking lot of the Ramada Inn was never answered. However, it was confirmed later by Agent Elliott after she wrote down the license plates that the white car was indeed located at the Ramada Inn before she broke off surveillance at 11:00 p.m. on March 10, 1994.

            Upon their arrival at the Ramada Inn around 10:30 p.m. on March 10, 1994, Gallardo and Medina saw Muniz carrying a bag of groceries. (T.R. 903). Muniz and Medina went into the lobby together where Medina was hailed by a young man in his mid-to-late twenties. At that time, Medina took leave of Muniz’s company and was not seen by Muniz again until the following morning at approximately 8:30 a.m. Apparently, the young man in his mid-to-late twenties was Danny Hernandez. After parking the white car in the parking lot, he waited for Medina to arrive. Al these events that occurred prior to the time that Muniz was arrested after driving the white car happened without Muniz’s knowledge. Knowledge is precisely the element of the offenses charged that was not successfully challenged by defense counsel at trial.

            The government has the burden to prove each element of the offenses, and that one element of the offense, and that one element of the offense in question is the “knowing” action by Muniz. The word “knowingly” means that the act was done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident. United States v.Rubio, 834 F.2d 442, 448 (5th Cr. 1987).

 


[1]           The court reporter did not transcribe the proceedings beginning with the motion to suppress hearing through sentencing on sequentially numbered pages. Instead, the motion to suppress hearing, the trial on the merits, and sentencing each begin at page one. To avoid confusion, the transcripts of the motion to suppress hearing is referred to as “S.R.”, that of the trial is referenced by “T.R.”, and that of sentencing is referred to as “S.T.R.” The reader should note that the suppression hearing continued over several days concluding on July  18, 1994, while voir dire was conducted on July 11, 1994. Trial before the jury began on July 19, 1994.

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