By Lucia Graves
In September of 2009, border patrol agent Bryan Gonzalez was fired for expressing his views on drug legalization to a fellow agent. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has joined Gonzalez in filing a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Gonzalez, 26, alleges that he was dismissed from his job in El Paso, Texas after saying in casual conversation that legalizing and regulating drugs would help stop cartel violence along the southern border with Mexico. His letter of termination stated his comments were “contrary to the core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication, and esprit de corps.”
Gonzalez told his colleague Shawn Montoya in April of 2009 that “legalization of drugs would end the drug war and related violence in Mexico,” adding that “the drug problems in America were due to American demand for drugs supplied by Mexico,” according to the complaint he and the ACLU-NM filed in federal court.