American Border Patrol agents face a surprising enemy intent on punishing those who combat the heavily armed drug traffickers and immigrant smugglers operating on the border with Mexico: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

Take the case of Border Patrol agent Jesus “Chito” Diaz, recently sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly “lifting the handcuffs” worn by an illegal alien he arrested for smuggling drugs. No shots were fired.

Diaz, who has a wife and several children, joins the ranks of other federal agents who have been imprisoned in recent years, including Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, each of whom served time for pursuing a known drug smuggler near El Paso, Texas.

Two oversight agencies deemed Diaz innocent. However, the Mexican government filed a complaint against Diaz, and the Justice Department complied. While awaiting sentencing, Diaz wasn’t even granted bail.

On duty last December in south Arizona, Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was fatally shot by a suspected drug mobster whose weapon evidently came from the federal government’s Fast and Furious operation. This undercover scheme involved the transfer of high-powered firearms, clandestinely purchased in the U.S., to drug cartels. It was supposedly designed to track the cartels. But it only succeeded in arming them.