Surveillance video was recently released showing 2 border patrol officers “coercing and intimidating” a Mexican teen to drink from two bottles of liquid meth at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing just hours before he died.
The shocking government surveillance video obtained by ABC News shows Cruz Velazquez, 16, being questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers Valerie Baird and Adrian Perallon in 2013, reported Daily Mail.
Velazquez had 2 bottles of apple juice colored liquid he was trying to carry across the border. Later tests showed they contained concentrated liquid methamphetamine.
Baird can be shown making a motion with her right hand, telling the teen to take a big gulp from the bottle.
The high school student takes 2 drinks from each bottle, as the smiling officers use hand gestures while demanding Velazquez drink more.
A drug dog allegedly detected the presence of drugs, so agents handcuffed the boy and detained him. They did not say why they did not use the dog before coercing the teen into drinking the liquid.
Just minutes after the drinks, Velazquez began sweating and screaming in Spanish about “the chemicals.” He then blurted out, “My heart! My heart!” according to NY Daily News.
He was taken to the nearby Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, where he died about 2 hours later.
Baird and Perallon are both still on the job and never received any disciplinary action from the fatal incident.
The teen’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the officers and the agency, claiming that the two officers’ actions led to Velazquez’s death.
“What you see, I think, is a basic lack of compassion and decency toward a 16-year-old boy,” Gene Iredale, the San Diego-based attorney who represented the Velazquez family told ABC News.
Former head of internal affairs at the CPB, James Tomsheck, said Baird and Perallon violated agency protocols by permitting Velazquez to drink from the bottles.
Tomsheck told ABC News, “If they truly suspected there was a controlled substance in the bottle, they should’ve conducted a field test.”
Despite the incriminating video, the attorneys for Baird and Perallon told ABC News they did not ask the teen to drink from the bottle.
Perallon claimed that the teen ‘volunteered’ to take a drink.
The CBP issued a statement to ABC News and said: ‘CBP takes all allegations of mistreatment seriously, and does not tolerate actions that are not consistent with our core values of vigilance, service to country and integrity.’
The government agency ended up paying $1,000,000 to settle the lawsuit with the teen’s family.
(Article By James Carter)