Articles Tagués ‘the Zetas cartel’

This is a photo of Lawrence Chapa, who was working as a government informant when he was driving a truck that was fatally attacked in Houston. Chapa, 53, was from Houston. This shot is from 2/4/2010 when he was arrested by HPD for possession of a controlled substance. Photo by HPD Photo: HPDUpdated 3:11 pm, Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Nov. 21, 2011, in Houston. ( James Nielsen / Chronicle )

The owner of a small Texas trucking company continues to fight with the U.S. government over the death here of an informant slain while working as the man’s 18-wheeler driver while at the same time also secretly an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a decision in coming months over whether a lawsuit for damages should be sent back to Houston for a trial. A three-judge panel heard oral arguments Monday in New Orleans.

« Make no mistake about it, if this court affirms this court below then you are saying loudly and clearly that the United States government has the authority, the discretionary authority, to commandeer the vehicle or the property or the home of any person in this room for law enforcement purposes without their knowledge and without their consent, and even without paying under the tort claims act, » Craig Patty’s lawyer, Andy Vickery, told the panel of judges.

« That is what is at stake here, and it is truly extraordinary, » Vickery said.

Patty’s lawyers hope that the court will reverse a decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal that Patty should get nothing from the DEA for secretly using his truck.

Many of the government’s motions filed in the case were kept sealed to protect the secrecy of DEA operations.



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