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US Drug Enforcement Agency kills another suspected drug runner in Honduras

The DEA shot an alleged drug runner in Honduras – the second since June – but if you rely on Honduran media, you may not have known that, writes a guest blogger.

By Russell SheptakGuest blogger / July 10, 2012

• A version of this post ran on the author's blog. The views expressed are the author's own.

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The DEA has shot to death another alleged drug runner in Honduras, the second this month. The latest incident happened a week ago.
If you live in Honduras and rely on the Honduran media, you probably didn't know that until now.
On July 3 a small plane crashed or was forced down (depending on the news source) near Catacamas in Olancho.  In the plane were 954 kilograms of cocaine.  The original Honduran press reports stated that one pilot, a Brazilian, was badly injured in the crash and surrendered to the police and DEA agents present. The other pilot, also Brazilian, was said to have been killed in the crash. The news of the two Brazilians was reported to their embassy according to statements by the Honduran police spokesperson.

Except that the pilot wasn't killed in the crash.
According to DEA spokesperson Dawn Dearden, two DEA agents shot the second Brazilian when he refused to surrender "and made a threatening gesture."  He died from his wounds. 
The New York Times coverage notes that "[Honduran authorities] did not disclose that the pilot had been shot by American agents." 
None of the press reports tell us the context in which the DEA spokesperson revealed DEA responsibility for the death of this suspect, or why it was revealed.
The DEA agents in question are members of a FAST team deployed in Honduras to help Honduran authorities stop drugs before they get to the United States.  Their rules of engagement allow them to fire on suspects if they are threatened or fired on. 
This is the second person they've killed in Honduras.

There will be no inquiry.
It's understandable that Honduran authorities kept quiet about DEA responsibility for shooting the suspect, given Honduran reactions to DEA agent participation in the Ahuas shootings of 4 people, and their killing of another suspect in Olancho in June.

– Russell Sheptak, the co-author of the blog Honduras Culture and Politics, specializes in the study of colonial history and economic anthropology in this little-reported corner of Central America.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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