Bizarre facts have come to light after an aborted drug raid in southeastern Mexico ended with the deaths of seven Mexican law-enforcement officers. The agents, tracking suspected cocaine smugglers flying a light plane from Colombia with U.S. assistance, landed on a makeshift airstrip near Veracruz Nov. 7 and were attacked by Mexican army troops.
The Mexican Defense Ministry and attorney general issued an immediate joint statement that the shooting was all a mistake, but a Mexican investigating panel now says the soldiers' commander was at fault. A second statement five days later said the soldiers had fired from 400 yards away, after the law enforcement officers started shooting at them, but videotapes provided by two U.S. surveillance planes which followed the action with heat-sensing cameras showed otherwise.
Not only did two agents survive, playing dead in a ditch, but the U.S. tapes showed the gunplay lasted more than two hours, during which one agent apparently was beaten to death. The Mexican army commander, Gen. Alfredo Moran Acevedo, twice disregarded phone warnings his forces were firing on government agents.