HomeNewsBriefUS Agent Kills 'Trafficker' in Honduras Anti-Drug Mission
BRIEF

US Agent Kills 'Trafficker' in Honduras Anti-Drug Mission

HONDURAS / 19 JUL 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

A US agent's killing of a suspected drug trafficker in Honduras highlights Washington's deepening involvement in the country's fight against crime, despite rising controversy among Hondurans.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Public Affairs Officer Rusty Payne told InSight Crime that the operation was an anti-drug mission led by Hondurans with assistance from embedded FAST (Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Team) personnel. He called it a "very successful mission," highlighting the 360 kilograms of cocaine seized.

During the operation in northeastern Brus Laguna (see InSight Crime map below), Honduran police and a US agent arrested three ground crew members and the pilot of a small plane loaded with cocaine. US Embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak said a suspected trafficker killed was fired upon by a US agent after reaching for a holstered firearm, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

US officials told the AP that the raid was carried out as part of a new US anti-drug mission in Honduras, known as Operation Anvil. It was the fourth such raid since Anvil began two months ago, compared with a rate of less than one mission every two months for the previous year and a half. US and Honduran personnel now follow every suspicious flight they detect, using six State Department-provided helicopters operated by non-US pilots.

InSight Crime Analysis

The death was the first time a DEA agent has used deadly force since they were first sent to accompany local anti-drug forces in Latin America several years ago, spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told the AP. It follows another deadly incident when four people were killed during a joint drug interdiction operation between the DEA and Honduran police in May. The incident caused great controversy, with witnesses reporting that the dead were unarmed civilians. US personnel reportedly did not open fire.

Despite anger in Honduras over the killings, President Porfirio Lobo publicly appealed for more anti-drug aid from Washington only days later. This latest killing suggests that US assistance is not being scaled back in response to the criticism, but is continuing to expand.

The country has become an increasing importance transshipment point for drugs heading from South America to the US. The government reported seizing some 22 tons of cocaine last year -- a mere drop in the bucket compared to the 143.55 tons that we can estimate are shipped through each year, using a Honduran government estimate that 87 percent of cocaine consumed in the US goes via the country.


View InSight Map -  DEA Operations in Honduras in a larger map

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

AUC / 9 FEB 2021

Operation ‘Tiburón Galloway’ began as a local investigation by prosecutors in the Italian region of Calabria in 2001, but quickly…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

COCAINE / 6 MAY 2022

The US has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of leaders of the Montes Bobadilla…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…