The case of a Mexican teen who died after taking several sips from a bottle containing liquid methamphetamine when he was attempting to smuggle the highly dangerous drug into Mexico has taken a new turn after footage of the November 2013 incident was made public.
The video, which was obtained by US broadcaster ABC and has no sound, shows two US border officials signaling for 16-year-old Cruz Marcelino Velázquez to drink from one of two bottles containing suspect liquids. The officials then gestured for the teen to drink from the other bottle while laughing and exchanging looks with each other.
Cruz died shortly after from an overdose.
Drug smuggling is a crime, but this teenager did not deserve a death sentence
Zoe Lofgren, Democratic congressional member from California
The teen was attempting to cross from Tijuana in Mexico to San Diego and told border officials the liquids in his bottles were “apple juice.” In a 2016 trial, the officers involved in the incident said they had not forced to Cruz to drink. One of them said the teen had offered to drink the contents of the bottles.
The family of the boy received $1 million in compensation from the US government but the border officials involved were not found guilty of any wrongdoing.
A former head of internal affairs at US Customs and Border Protection, James Tomsheck, told ABC News: “If they truly suspected there was a controlled substance in the bottle they should've conducted a field test.”
“Drug smuggling is wrong and is a crime, but this teenage boy did not deserve a death sentence,” Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic congressional member from California, told ABC News.
English version by George Mills.