Update on Incident in Honduras (Taken Question)

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 9, 2012

QUESTION: Do you have an update on the most recent incident in Honduras? Were Department of State helicopters used?

ANSWER: On July 3, a Honduran police operation with embedded DEA advisors conducted a successful counternarcotics interdiction that resulted in the seizure of almost 1,000 kilograms of cocaine and the arrest of one suspected narcotics trafficker.

The United States congratulates the Government of Honduras on this successful operation.

The plane carrying the cocaine crashed south of Catacamas, in eastern Honduras, shortly after midnight. Upon arrival at the scene, police encountered the two pilots from the aircraft. One was badly injured in the crash and was arrested at the scene. The other was still in the plane. He ignored orders to surrender and was shot after making a threatening gesture. Both suspects were given first aid and transported via helicopter to a secure location. The pilot who resisted arrest died of his injuries. Two DEA agents were involved in the shooting.

The Government of Honduras sent a team to the site of the incident to conduct an investigation. The team consists of National Police investigators and crime scene technicians, and prosecutors from the Public Ministry. The Honduran team has taken custody of the recovered cocaine, the copilot, and the remains of the suspect who died.

At the request of the Government of Honduras, the United States is providing technical and logistical assistance to the Honduran investigative team and is encouraged by the swift deployment of the team.

State Department-titled helicopters were used to transport the Honduran-led team to the site of the interdiction.

PRN: 2012/1115