A 16-year-old Tijuana boy died after drinking liquid spiked with methamphetamine in front of federal agents at the port of San Ysidro.
Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo attempted to cross the border around 6:30 p.m. Monday with two small containers of an amber-colored liquid that he said was juice, according to San Diego police. While under questioning by border patrol agents, Acevedo drank some of the liquid.
A specially trained dog detected the presence of drugs, so agents handcuffed the boy and detained him. He soon began complaining that he felt sick and then told agents the liquid was a "chemical." Acevedo was taken to an area hospital, where he died shortly after 9 p.m.
Analysis of the liquid tested positive for methamphetamine.
“The whole thing is very, very odd,” SDPD homicide Lt. Mike Hastings told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s a sad case.”
Hastings said that toxicology test results are needed before investigators determine if the liquid caused the teenager’s death. But as one expert told NBC San Diego, it's highly likely.
"What we know about liquid forms is it's usually more like a precursor that's used to make methamphetamine," Kristin Steele, a spokesperson for the Sharp McDonald substance abuse recovery center, told the station. "In liquid form, it's usually highly concentrated... It [can be] upwards of 90 percent pure, so drinking it even in small amounts would be potentially deadly."
Steele said transporting methamphetamine in liquid form is becoming a more common form of smuggling, since it is harder to detect than the drug's powder form.
According to NBC San Diego, the boy's family in Mexico has been informed of the death. Acevedo had no previous criminal record.