New video shows that border control agents at the U.S.-Mexico border crossed the line when they encouraged a 16-year-old to take swigs of a substance that tests would later reveal contained concentrated liquid methamphetamine.
The government surveillance video, obtained by ABC News, shows that in 2013 a pair of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers appeared to encourage Cruz Velazquez, a Mexican high school student, to take repeated sips from two drug-filled bottles.
Velasquez died within two hours of consuming the substance. No disciplinary action was taken against the involved officers, both of whom denied encouraging the teen to ingest the liquid.
“I never asked him to. He volunteered to and I believe I gestured to him to go ahead,” officer Adrian Perallon said under oath.
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But the video belies the officers’ claims.
It shows the two U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers examine one small and one large bottle while Velazquez, wearing a white sweatshirt, appears nervous.
Velazquez points to one of the bottles and officer Valerie Baird uses a hand gesture to encourage him to drink from the bottle.
After Velazquez takes a sip from the bottle, Perallon gestures to encourage him to take another sip.
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The officers exchange glances and smiles. “They know what’s going on. This is a game in which he is being played with,” Eugene Iredale, the Velasquez family lawyer told ABC.
This happens more than once. Perallon pushes the larger bottle toward Velasquez and smiles at his colleague before Velasquez takes two more sips from the bottle.
He swallowed a total of four sip of the highly-concentrated solution.
Minutes later, he began sweating and screaming in Spanish about “the chemicals” in the solution. “My heart! My heart!” he yelled, records showed.
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Roughly two hours later, his heart stopped beating.
In March, more than three years after his death, the Velasquez family was awarded $ 1 million after settling a wrongful-death lawsuit against the U.S. government and the two border officers, records show.
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