The family of a Colombian man who was killed in an anti-narcotics operation in the Caribbean has filed a $5 million claim against the US Coast Guard, responsible for man’s death.
The fatal incident took place at night in August, 2012 off the Nicaraguan eastern coastline, a common route used by drug traffickers.
According to media reports, the victim was killed when the boat he was traveling on was shot at by an overflying US Coast Guards helicopter that suspected the vessel of trafficking narcotics northward.
The boat allegedly failed to comply with an order to stop by the Coast Guard helicopter patrolling the Caribbean.
“The vessel operator failed to comply with a lawful order to heave-to on August 22, 2012. As a result, a Coast Guard helicopter employed warning shots and disabling fire to stop the vessel. The Coast Guard boarding team arrived on scene to discover one of the vessel’s crew members deceased. The matter is under internal agency review, and the Coast Guard has a general policy of not commenting on the merits of individual claims,” said the Coast Guard in a formal response.
Following the deadly warning shot, no drugs were found on the boat. However, Coast Guard documents obtained by a Miami attorney stated that “prior to … [firing the warning shots], 8-10 individual packages were observed jettisoned overboard.”
Coast Guard personnel who searched the area could not find the packaged that allegedly had been thrown into the water, the report said.
The two survivors were repatriated to Colombia.