WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration misled Congress about a 2012 shooting in Honduras that left four innocent people dead, including a 14-year-old boy, according to a new report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.
A DEA agent in a helicopter gave an order to fire upon a passenger boat in Ahuas, Honduras, on May 11, 2012. The boat, which was carrying 12 passengers, had came into contact with a small motorized canoe that had been used for drug smuggling and commandeered by a DEA agent and two Honduras police officers. The police officers in the smaller boat fired upon the larger boat, and a DEA agent in a helicopter ordered another Honduran police officer to fire upon the boat. Four people were killed, and no drugs were found. Some initial reports suggested there was a firefight, but there’s no evidence that anyone in the passenger boat fired at the officers.
The Inspector General report found that Operation Anvil was poorly planned, that the DEA misled Congress and the public about the role the agency played in the operation, and that the post-shooting review was significantly flawed. The deadly incident was the subject of a 2014 investigation by The New Yorker.
The report also focuses on two separate shooting incidents involving DEA agents in the months following May 2012. The Honduran police misrepresented the incident in both cases, according to the report. In one instance, Honduran police officers apparently planted a weapon on the scene of a shooting in which two DEA officers fatally shot a pilot who had been unarmed but made “furtive movement” and disobeyed commands to exit a suspect plane that had crash landed.
This is a developing story and will be updated.