Customs and Border Protection has paid $1 million to the family of a Mexican teen who died three years ago after sipping liquid meth at the US-Mexico border. Cruz Marcelino Velázquez Acevedo, 16, was traveling through the pedestrian entrance at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Nov. 18, 2013, when border officers discovered two jars of amber liquid inside his knapsack, reports the San Diego Union Tribune. The Tijuana high school student said the liquid was juice, according to his family's lawyer, Eugene Iredale. But officers Adrian Perallon and Valerie Baird told him "to drink the liquid to prove [it]," Iredale says. The boy took four sips of what turned out to be liquid meth and began "screaming in pain," reports NBC San Diego.
Acevedo died of acute methamphetamine intoxication two hours later. And though Iredale suspects he was paid a small sum to carry the drugs, he was "basically a good boy" who was treated with "the most inhuman kind of cruelty," he tells the Washington Post. "To cause him to die in a horrible way that he did is something that is execrable," especially as officers could have tested the liquid easily, he adds. While "it's never enough when you lose a human life," the Mexican Consul General in San Diego notes Acevedo's family is "at peace" with the $1 million settlement reached in January after a lawsuit accused Parallon and Baird of wrongful death and other crimes. Both officers remain at work with Customs and Border Protection. (Officers previously found a Mexican snail statue stuffed with meth.)