Killing in Honduras: Is DEA Overstepping Its Bounds?

DEA says strategy is working, human rights groups not so sure
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2012 9:06 AM CDT
A Honduras national policeman sits on packages of cocaine that were seized from the crashed plane.   (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)

(Newser) – The Drug Enforcement Agency has confirmed that its agents shot a suspected drug pilot dead in Honduras last week, the AP reports. An agency spokeswoman says that a twin-engine plane carrying cocaine from Colombia crashed in eastern Honduras while being pursued by government aircraft. One pilot was injured in the crash and arrested; the other was shot after he apparently refused to surrender and made a threatening gesture toward agents. The agency says the operation, which also involved Honduran police, resulted in the seizure of nearly a ton of cocaine.

This is the second time in the space of a few weeks that DEA agents have killed someone in the Central American country. And while the agency says its aggressive new enforcement strategy is a success, human rights groups are worried. "It looks like an escalation with a sense of lack of accountability and overstepping their boundaries in Honduras," a senior associate with the Center for Economic and Policy Research says. "We are just getting the DEA account of events and it looks like there is no real inquiry."

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