By Benjamin Gonzales, Retired Deputy District Attorney
(Friend of DA Mike Ramos)
Posted: 02/16/2012 03:18:59 PM PST

I served as chief deputy district attorney for the District Attorney’s Office Central Division between October 2006 and June 2009. The city of San Bernardino and the San Manuel Indian Reservation were within my area of responsibility, as was overseeing the DA’s Central Gang Unit. In this capacity I was very familiar with the investigation into problems relating to gang presence at San Manuel and the “killer for hire” case alluded to by county Supervisor Neil Derry (“Crime ties are a serious issue,” Feb. 10).

I am compelled to correct misinformation being propagated by Mr. Derry.

As pointed out by retired Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Howell (“False allegations,” Feb. 6) and retired Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueermann (“Supervisor Derry’s constituents deserve better,” Feb. 8), the name of James Ramos never came to light as having any involvement in any type of criminal activity whatsoever. I saw no evidence at any time that James Ramos had any ties to gang members, drug dealers, killers for hire, or any other criminal. The truth is that Mr. Derry’s accusations are without merit.

As for the “killer for hire” scandal involving two tribal members who supposedly received a “slap on the wrist,” as Mr. Derry puts it, the facts are contrary to his assertions and implications. The case was complex and difficult. It was handled independently and appropriately by the District Attorney’s Office.

James Ramos had no control over the case. The disposition of the case resulted in felony convictions by plea of both defendants, initial grants of felony probation, and ultimately sentencing of the more culpable of the two tribal members to 17 years in state prison when the terms of probation were violated.

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