Federal corruption and cover-up in the prosecution of Cory Voorhis, Part 1
The following is the first part of a two-part investigative report, including supporting official documents, of several federal agents (from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency) who were involved with the prosecution – some might say persecution – of Cory Voorhis.
To access a complete version of this report in a downloadable, printable PDF file, click HERE.
On Wednesday, December 9th, during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Ranking Republican member Jeff Sessions asked Napolitano about the case of Cory Voorhis. It was the first public indication that Senators are aware of the case and could represent a major turning point - and major trouble for both federal and state government officials involved in it. On Friday, December 11th, according to a Denver Post report, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would re-open the investigation into Voorhis’ supervisor based on evidence of perjury (more on this below). Given similar but until now not publicized problems for other senior officials in the Denver office of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency ("ICE"), this could be the first crack in a massive dam of federal malfeasance and subsequent cover-up.
[You can read about the Voorhis saga below, or for more detail you can read my prior articles about it HERE and HERE, and skip in this article down to the new information regarding the corruption within the Denver ICE office.]
After several grueling years working along the US-Mexico border, including hand-to-hand combat with an illegal alien who was trying to kill him, Border Patrol agent (and US Army veteran of the Gulf War) Cory Voorhis was offered a promotion to special agent and a transfer to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Denver office.
Little did he know that the office, which later became part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency ("ICE"), was a haven of incompetence and corruption, with senior federal agents who would soon betray him and their oaths to uphold the law.
Three years after a politically-motivated prosecution, Voorhis stands acquitted by a jury of all charges but the Denver Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") office remains a haven for malfeasance and cover-up - a situation which is now coming to the attention of the U.S. Senate.
In August, 2006, now-ICE agent Cory Voorhis saw a Rocky Mountain News article in which former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, then a candidate for governor, blamed federal agents, i.e. ICE, for not removing enough illegal alien criminals from Colorado. Voorhis was incensed by this accusation, since Ritter’s policy of letting criminal aliens arrested for felonies plead down to non-deportable offenses such as “trespassing on farm land” was well-known to Denver ICE officers who viewed it as obstruction of justice - and of their job to keep citizens safe.
A Denver Post article notes a list of 152 such pleas from 1998 to 2004 under Ritter’s tenure as Denver District Attorney and notes “A review of 15 of the agricultural trespass cases in Denver showed that heroin and cocaine charges, theft of motor vehicles and domestic violence crimes - miles away from any farm or open land - were transformed into agricultural trespass." Voorhis says this 152 “is the tip of the iceberg” since other non-deportable charges were also used for the same purpose; he estimates the total number of aliens who were able to avoid deportation due to Ritter’s policy at over 1,000.
Voorhis met with a representative of then-Congressman Bob Beauprez - who was also running for governor of Colorado - trying to expose Ritter’s dangerous “catch and release” policy.
Unknown to Voorhis, the Beauprez representative he was speaking with, John Marshall, was part of Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign rather than tied to his Congressional office. (Marshall corroborated that he never told Voorhis he worked for the campaign.) The Beauprez campaign did their own research based on names supplied to them by Voorhis and produced a campaign ad regarding one of the illegal aliens, a Honduran illegal alien called Walter Noel Ramo, also known (outside Colorado) as Carlos Estrada Medina. In THESE documents, you can see Ramo’s arrest for selling narcotics, his plea to a non-deportable offense of trespassing on farm land, and his later arrest in California for sexual assault on a minor.
Voorhis’ disclosure to Beauprez was not political in intent: During the trial, Voorhis’ supervisor acknowledged that Voorhis wasn’t a particular fan of Congressman Beauprez and that Voorhis was not alone in his outrage over Ritter’s catch-and-release of illegal alien felons. Voorhis’ goal was simply to shed light on the Ritter policy, hoping that public outrage would cause the practice to be ended. But the full force of the Democratic political machine - including current US Attorney nominee Stephanie Villafuerte who was then a Ritter campaign operative and who refused to answer questions regarding her role in the affair and now offers unconvincing excuses - was unleashed against Voorhis. Bill Ritter called for a criminal investigation into how the Beauprez campaign learned of Ramo/Medina and Ritter was subsequently named Voorhis’ “victim” in a Colorado Bureau of Investigation report. At the time, the head of the CBI was Robert Cantwell, former head of the Denver Police’s Intelligence Unit, and a man whose long working relationship with Ritter might have made his recusal from the matter appropriate. (The US Attorney’s office in Colorado recused themselves, so the case was handled, or mis-handled, by the Cheyenne, Wyoming office.)
Eventually, the investigation led to misdemeanor charges against Voorhis (who never denied being the source of Beauprez’s initial information as he believed his actions to be both appropriate and legal) for improper access to a federal database, an offense which even if it had been true would normally be dealt with administratively, not with criminal charges. A unanimous jury found Voorhis not guilty in an April, 2008 trial and the Beauprez campaign television ad had little impact in the governor’s race that Ritter won by a wide margin. But those who were involved with prosecuting Voorhis have continued to try to destroy him, not least by firing him despite his complete acquittal.
[All documents referred to below were initially obtained by Mr. Voorhis from the government during the discovery process related to Voorhis’ trial and appeal of his job termination.]
The Voorhis prosecution is remarkable for questionable actions of almost every government agent and investigator involved.
One of the worst offenders (based on ICE’s own investigation results) is Voorhis’ former immediate superior at Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), Special Agent Tony Rouco. Following Voorhis’ trial and acquittal, Tony Rouco was interviewed for eight hours while wired to a polygraph. The official Examination Results of Rouco’s testimony state “Deception Indicated - With Confession".
According to Cory Voorhis, shortly after he met Congressman Beauprez’s representative in late September, 2006, he told Rouco what he had done. Rouco admitted during the polygraph interview that he had met with Voorhis more than one time prior to October 13th, 2008. (See Rouco Polygraph Transcript, pages 232, 265-267, 224) But at Voorhis’ trial, Rouco perjured himself and said that he had not had those initial conversations (See Trial Transcript, page 737), a falsehood which he repeated in a 2009 Deposition (see page 13). As an FBI agent involved with the case told Cory Voorhis, if Rouco had told the truth to begin with, there probably would never have been a trial. Indeed, Rouco admitted at trial that he was pleased with Voorhis’ disclosure of Ritter’s plea-down policy and that Rouco himself had contacted congressmen including “most of the congressional delegation in Colorado” as well as “district attorney offices", and “police departments and prosecutor offices” around the state to warn them of the dangers of Ritter’s plea-down practice. (See Trial Transcript, pages 807-811)
A Department of Homeland Security investigation into Rouco regarding the Voorhis investigation and trial (see DHS Report of Investigation dated 4/3/09) substantiated charges of:
- Willingly giving false testimony under oath during a federal criminal proceeding,
- Providing false statements to OPR Agents during an investigation,
- Providing false statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during an investigation, and
- Failure to report employee misconduct.
The last of these bullet points could equally point to the fact that Rouco never believed Voorhis’ actions to qualify as misconduct.
And another DHS investigation of Rouco for improper conduct related to a 2005 threat against a Special Agent (see DHS Report of Investigation dated 11/15/07) substantiated four separate serious charges, including “Falsification of a Report of Investigation.”
As one source for this article noted, “every federal agent knows from his first days in training that if you are shown to be a liar or a cheat, you will be fired." But far from being fired, Tony Rouco received a temporary promotion from Group Supervisor in the Denver office to Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC). The fact that the government has insulated Rouco from multiple substantiated charges and their intent to have him testify again against Voorhis in an upcoming appeal by Voorhis to have his job reinstated is an indictment of ICE’s ability to police itself and a measure of their current desperation.
Rouco’s failed polygraph brings us to ICE Agent Manuel ("Manny") Olmos, the lead federal investigator of the Voorhis case. Olmos’ zeal to get Voorhis has caused Olmos to “out” a confidential informant, to obstruct justice, and to suborn perjury.
Strangely, when a new internal investigative division was being formed in Denver, Manny Olmos was hand-picked to join it despite previous and unresolved concerns of corruption (See Olmos’ 8/7/09 deposition, pages 23-25) and his pending lawsuit against the government (which Olmos said he settled earlier this year; Ibid. pages 25-26). Shortly after being given this job, took up his first case - that of Cory Voorhis. According to sources familiar with the investigation, Olmos viewed Voorhis as a “golden boy” because of Voorhis’ successful organized crime investigation of (and case built against) a Mexican organized crime leader, a case which garnered national attention. The new Denver OPR office was also highly motivated to score a major internal affairs victory. Was Manny Olmos so motivated by these personal biases that he would do anything to harm him? The evidence, including Olmos’ behavior during Tony Rouco’s polygraph questioning and the affidavit Olmos swore out following the polygraph results certainly points in that direction.
Olmos questioned Tony Rouco during Rouco’s polygraph examination on July 10th, 2008 which arose from the government’s suspicions of Rouco’s untruthfulness throughout the Voorhis saga. During the interview, Olmos betrayed his bias and his desire to reach a specific outcome by saying to Rouco “we’re in a difficult situation right now for all of us." (Rouco Polygraph Transcript, page 204) Rouco took the hint, however, asking Olmos “You’re asking me to help you get him. Is that it?” to which Olmos replied “No, no. Well, if you want to look at it that way…” (Ibid. page 245)
During the initial questioning, Rouco gave different answers about his conversations with Voorhis, many of which indicated deception according to the official polygraph analysis. However, after pressure from Olmos, Rouco then asked “What do you want from me so I save myself?” Olmos replied “don’t - don’t go (to bat) for Cory.” (Ibid. page 264 & 265; “to bat” inferred from similar comments on page 263.) Rouco stuck for some time with a truthful position (according to Voorhis) that he never told Voorhis to stop speaking with Beauprez’s people (Ibid. page 364), but after more pressure from Olmos, Rouco changed his story yet again and said he told Voorhis (regarding speaking to Beauprez’s representative) “you can’t do that.” (Ibid. page 451) Olmos then submitted this obviously false answer to the Disciplinary and Adverse Action Panel ("DAAP") determining whether Voorhis would be fired and omitted any reference to Rouco’s having failed the polygraph. (See Olmos Affidavit signed by Olmos, dated 8/12/08) Manny Olmos has repeatedly obstructed justice and suborned perjury; he corrupted the entire case against Cory Voorhis.
Tomorrow, in the second half of this report, we will look into several other senior members of the Denver ICE office, each of whom has his own ethical baggage to carry following apparent malfeasance during the Voorhis affair.
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