War on Drugs — 17 May 2012

Editors Note: the past two weeks have seen announcements coming from Honduras that American DEA agents and military are being deployed to Honduras to battle drug smugglers there and are setting up radar installations.  This was a particularly brutal week in Honduras with the kidnapping and killing of a journalist there.  Below is parts of an article that we translated from Diario Tiempo newspaper in Honduras today about a drug trafficking raid gone terribly wrong.

Deaths in Mosquitia were not Narcos said the Authorities

The four persons that died and an equal number injured in an drug raid operation were not drug traffickers, rather they were humble and honest citizens, yesterday said congressman Wood Grawell Maylo and the major of the city of Ahuas, Lucio Baquedao.

The events occured in the dawn last friday when a helicopter with Honduran and American DEA agents opened fire on a boat in the Patuca river in a place known as “Paplaya” believing they were shooting at drug traffickers. Killed were the youths Emersen Martínez, Chalo Brock Wood, as well as the pregnant women Canderlaria Tratt Nelson and Juana Banegas. Also injured were Hilda Lezama de Eulopio, Wilmer López, Lucio Adán and Melanio Eulopio.

According to the mayor, the boat came under attack heading out in the dawn in front of the sand bar of El Patuca in the direction of the town of Ahuas to drop off scuba divers.

Baquedano explained that as the boat turned around and headed back they came across another boat which was being chased by the National Police and American DEA agents..  “The drug traffickers boat had no lights while the other boat had lights making it the only visible target to the agents firing from the helicopter,” he said.

The drug traffickers abandoned their craft and fled in the direction of the El Patuca. The inhabitants of El Patuca burned down four houses believing that the authorities in Ahuas and Mosquitia had called on the helicopter.  “This operation was put together in an irresponsible manner.  One would suppose that people who are participating in this would act upon drug traffickers and not innocent people,” he said.

He said they are alarmed because they now there is the looming threat that operations will kill poor people as well as drug traffickers and the agents will  want to operate freely. “We ask that you investigate the case thoroughly because it killed four people including two pregnant women,” said Baquedano. For his part, Deputy Grawell Maylo Wood, explained that those operations are unfortunate because they were implemented irresponsibly.

“I heard with great indignation the police chief, Jose Ricardo Ramirez Del Cid, say that the operation was successful because two drug traffickers were killed in the attack which also killed simple citizens,” he said. The congressman introduced in yesterday’s session of Congress a motion to clarify the facts for which we are now led to believe that the dead and injured were involved in drug trafficking, which congressman denies. The military spokesman, Jeremiah Arevalo said the military was not involved in the operation of the Mosquito because it was an operation by the police.

According to the authority, la Mosquitia is one of the most widely used areas for drug trafficking for the many rivers, streams, and creeks there.

Tiempo newspaper sent an email to the USA embassy for comment but at the publication date of this article there has been no response.

 

Dateline: TEGUCIGALPA. 14 May 2012.

Translated from :  http://www.tiempo.hn/index.php/honduras/10766-muertos-en-la-mosquitia-no-eran-narcos-dicen-autoridades

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