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An American Hero is in Trouble

By
May 6, 2009

The following is my letter to AG Holder on behalf of Cele Castillo:

The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Re: Prosecutorial Misconduct
USA vs. Celerino Castillo, III
SA: 08-CR-00193 (1) – WRF
No. 08- 51144 USA vs. CASTILLO

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I have recently read in the news media about your unprecedented reversal of conviction in the corruption case concerning Senator Ted Stevens, and I applaud your action. It was very apparent that there was prosecutorial misconduct that did indeed take place in that case.

However, I have recently become cognizant of a similar – and quite possibly even a far worse – example of prosecutorial misconduct, and as an American citizen, I am urgently requesting your assistance in getting to the bottom of this ugly situation.

Mr. Celerino “Cele” Castillo, III, a resident of my own state of Texas, is best remembered for being a whistleblower during the Iran-Contra investigation. Mr. Castillo submitted his testimony to the House Select Committee for Intelligence and went before a federal grand jury in Washington D.C, to testify to CIA involvement in murder, torture, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling.

After his retirement from the DEA, Mr. Castillo became an educator and an activist for several civil rights organizations, such as People for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

On March 06, 2008, Mr. Castillo was arrested by ATF agents in San Antonio, Texas. The charges were filed by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton for the Western District of Texas. After eight months, Mr. Castillo’s charges were dismissed under Poke v. U.S.

However, prior to Mr. Castillo’s charges being dismissed, he was told that he was required to plead guilty to new charges of “Selling Guns without a License and Aiding and Abetting.” ATF agents telephoned Mr. Castillo’s elderly mother on literally a daily basis, threatening this elderly lady with never seeing her son again, until Mr. Castillo pled guilty and was sentenced to 37 months of incarceration. Such tactics on the parts of the ATF agents in question were at best, disgusting – and at worst, even criminal. That is, said tactics certainly appear to be felony extortion in my personal view, and I cannot see any other interpretation at this time.

Mr. Castillo was initially ordered to surrender for his term of incarceration on March 05, 2009, but he discovered soon after his sentencing that his attorney, Robert “Eddie” de la Garza, had been under investigation by the state bar throughout his case – and Mr. de la Garza had failed to advise the court that he was in the process of being suspended. There was a massive issue of conflict of interest on the part of Mr. de la Garza also, because the same agents involved in Mr. Castillo’s case were also involved with another case involving Mr. de la Garza’s son, Andrew de la Garza, who had been arrested by ATF a short time prior on quite similar charges to Mr. Castillo’s.

The judge in Mr. Castillo’s case has extended Mr. Castillo’s required surrender date until July 20, 2009, so that he may have ample time to prepare this case with his new public defender.

On April 10, 2009, Mr. Castillo and his new public defender filed nine counts of Prosecutorial Misconduct and Outrageous Government Conduct related to his case. The complaints were filed with the Office of the Inspector General and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and therefore should be readily available for your review.

I do strongly believe that the prosecutorial misconduct involved in Mr. Castillo’s case was even more severe than that which was involved in Senator Ted Stevens’ case, as I do very strongly suspect that Mr. de la Garza’s son’s predicament was actually used by the ATF agents involved in both cases to blackmail Mr. de la Garza, Mr. Castillo’s defense attorney, into giving Mr. Castillo the worst possible legal advice – in other words, pressuring Mr. Castillo’s attorney to advise him in the strongest terms to plead guilty even though it was never in Mr. Castillo’s best interest to do so. Put still another way, this situation certainly does make it appear that this was felony extortion again, which I am sure you will agree is never acceptable conduct for anyone, let alone someone in the legal or law enforcement professions.

In light of these facts, I am respectfully requesting an immediate, thorough and very urgent inquiry into the manner in which Mr. Castillo’s case was prosecuted, and I also feel that time is of extremely crucial importance in this matter. Cele Castillo is one of the last surviving credible witnesses to the government agency abuses that took place during the Iran Contra years, and as a former deep cover DEA agent, the very unfortunate reality is that he will be placed in extremely grave personal danger from the moment he enters the U.S. prison system on July 20th, 2009.

I hope to hear from you concerning this matter at your very earliest convenience.

Respectfully yours,

Kathryn Graham
Hooks, Texas

Please sign petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/celecast/petition.html

One Response to An American Hero is in Trouble

  1. gazelle1929

    May 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Kate:

    Can you tell us where you got your information about the “requirement” that he plead guilty and about the charge that ATF agents were making repeated calls to Mr. Castillo’s mother? I cannot find any corroboration for either allegation. And in our justice system, there is no such thing as a requirement that anyone plead guilty.

    Nor can I find anything (other than several letters apparently written by you) that support the statement that Mr. Castillo has filed charges of prosecutorial misconduct or “outrageous government conduct.”

    To be frank, this sounds like that Senator Craig, who pled guilty and then sought to withdraw his plea.