Det. Rick Reza poses with “Sleeping Dragon”

Friday, November 9th 2012
By: Ronnie Garza

With the names of the 3 primary undercover detectives now known, the Gulf Port 7 Trial is set to move forward.  Shannon Dowell, Ricardo Reza and Deek Moore were all named in what will be Judge Campbell’s last appearance in court, this past Halloween, October 31st. Campbell has chosen to seal the names of 3 “back-up” undercover detectives who appear in emails but do not seem to be linked to the protest in Houston.  In addition to the names, the Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) from the Austin Regional Intelligence Center (ARIC) and the Houston Regional Intelligence Service Center (HRISC) reveal communications and pictures of the officers assembling the “sleeping dragons.”  Judge Joan Campbell, who originally threw the case out citing no probable cause was overruled by a Grand Jury and has been overseeing the pre-trial hearings up till now. She will retire before the Feb 18th trial date.  Word has it that the next judge will be appointed by Rick Perry.

At the present, nearly a year has passed since the original demonstration at the port, 1 of the 7 charged, Eric Marquez, remains in jail awaiting the next developments.  Marquez, who was bonded out in early October only to be denied release at the last moment was extradited to Dallas on a new charge only formally filed Oct. 2nd within the statue of limitations.  A new 100 thousand dollar bail hangs over Marquez.

The trial is sure to be one of patience.  Beyond the numerous elements of Entrapment, equally interesting will be questions of police misconduct as the Austin Police Department is currently conducting an internal revue to determine what exactly happened back in December.  As Dowell testified in court on Aug. 27th, he had deleted his emails related to this case and had not taken reports due to the fact that this was not a criminal investigation.  Dowell also testified he was working under an intelligence unit, namely the ARIC fusion center.  And herein lies the contradiction, the fusion center, as set out by it’s privacy policy, only collects information related to criminal investigations.  That admission has raised more than a few eyebrows.  Additionally, the APD is yet to determine whether the role of the undercovers was strictly to “observe and report” or whether it was to become involved in the protest activities.  At the moment, not much is known about the nature and direction of this particular undercover project. Which brings us to one of the most startling aspects of this trial.

Where was Brady?  That is, where was the Brady Material?   The defense asked the D.A., specifically Steve Baldassano, if he had any knowledge of an officer being involved in the port demonstration months before Dowell appeared in court.  Any knowledge of an officer was denied.  Which begs the question.  Numerous informants, 6 undercover detectives all assigned to one mission, a chain of command that goes directly to the Austin Police Chief and the Austin fusion center and Houston authorities knew nothing about it?  First, one almost assumes that if you pay 6 detectives roughly 85k each, plus overtime to work on a special project under the eyes of the DHS funded fusion center you would know what they were doing.  Well, I guess we all know what happens when I assume about u and me and the APD.  Either way, one would hope that if those same detectives were involved in manufacturing criminal instruments to be used in a criminal activity in another jurisdiction… again, one would hope that those officers would have the common courtesy to let the arresting officers know how those devices were made.  According to the D.A., that was not the case.  Oh there is communication about lockboxes en route, “Sleeping Dragons” as they say, yet for the D.A.’s story to hold true there must never have been any communication to the arresting officers on the ground about how the devices were made and how to safely disarm them.  So the cops call these things “Sleeping Dragons” like they are some sort of giant pre-historic, fire-breathing, monstrous, reptilian activist WEAPON but they don’t let other cops know how to disarm them?  The D.A. calls it “dropping the ball” the voice of the taxpayer who knows how to use a cell phone and who funded all this says “liar, liar, pants on fire!.”  Of course, when you are posing with 5 foot pipes, pretending to be a tripod, and taking photos it’s pretty hard to break up the slumber party and let Houston know how you made the damn things.

For more on the Gulf Port 7, check out our collection of articles and this video playlist which goes over much of the lead-up to today. You can also view any of the 4 pre-trial transcripts below.

August 27th Pre-Trial Transcript
September 5th Pre-Trial Transcript
October 1st Pre-Trial Transcript
October 31st Pre-Trial Transcript

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