A United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent shot and killed a suspected drug trafficker during an early morning raid near Brus Laguna, a village in northeastern Honduras.
The raid occurred on Saturday morning, after a suspected smuggling plane landed at Brus Laguna’s airport. Four helicopters with Honduran police and members of the DEA’s Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST) followed the plane’s passengers and cargo into a wooded location. According to US embassy spokesman, Stephen Posivak, four suspects surrendered to arrest, but a fifth reached for a weapon, at which time the DEA agent fired.
The squad seized several weapons and 360 kilograms of cocaine at the site. According to an agreement between the DEA and Honduras police, the agent acted within strict procedure and fired out of self-defence.
The incident highlights the growing involvement of the US in Central American counternarcotics operations.
In May, protests erupted in Honduras after a US-owned helicopter carrying DEA and Honduran police fired on a fishing boat during a drug raid, killing four people, including two pregnant women. The shooting happened near Ahaus in northeastern Honduras when a boat carrying suspected smugglers began firing at the helicopter.
Lucio Baquedano, the mayor of Ahuas, says the four fatalities were innocent civilians not involved in the drug trade.
In response, protestors set government buildings ablaze and demanded US drug enforcers leave.
FAST is a commando-style squad led by former Navy SEALs members, with origins in Taliban-linked narcotics investigations. Now, FAST is commonly deployed to small Central American countries to help resident speciality units fight narcotics trafficking.
Honduras is a popular spot for cocaine shipment headed from South America to the US.