U.S. denies agents fired on Hondurans

May 17, 2012 at 9:35 AM
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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, May 17 (UPI) -- U.S. officials deny allegations federal drug agents in helicopters inadvertently fired at passengers on a boat off Honduras' Mosquito Coast, killing four.

The United States has been assisting the Honduran military and law enforcement efforts to fight drug trafficking in remote areas of the Latin American country, Time magazine reported Thursday.

Local officials say Honduran police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents were engaging a speedboat carrying cocaine along the northeast shore of Honduras last Friday when a boat carrying civilians got caught in the crossfire.

Four people, including two pregnant women, were killed, and three others were injured. Two children may be missing, Time said.

Time said U.S. sources denied the DEA agents fired the shots, saying it was a Honduran police mission and the United States was only providing logistical support.

Honduran officials, however, said the issue is still under investigation. Honduras National Police Director Jose Ricardo Ramirez said two of the people killed were drug traffickers trying to move more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine that was later seized by police.

The Honduran government is sending a commission of representatives to the area to investigate.

Lucio Baquedano, mayor of the nearby town of Ahuas, said the boat that got caught in the crossfire was ferrying local residents to their jobs as sea-snail divers and at local rice and bean farms, Time reported.

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