$1 Million Settlement for Family of Tijuana Teen Who Died After Drinking Liquid Meth

Cruz Marcelino Velázquez Acevedo, a Tijuana teenager, died while in federal custody on the border between Mexico and the United States. The teenager was going through San Ysidro Port of Entry and was bringing a knapsack with his belongings.  The 16-year-old told authorities at the border that he was carrying two bottles of apple juice that he previously bought in Mexico.  The lawsuit claims that “the two agents told a young man to drink the liquid to prove to them that it was fruit juice and not a drug.” Eugene Iredale, the attorney for Velázquez’s family, explained that because he was forced to drink the liquid, he died.

Velázquez told authorities that he was on his way to visit an uncle in San Ysidro, the bottles were noticed at the first check point but, according to the officer, “the primary reason I referred Velázquez to secondary is because of his rapid speech and due to the fact that he was shaking so uncontrollably.”  Velázquez drank the liquid methamphetamine in the secondary area.  Iredale reported that Baird tested the drugs after Velázquez drank from the bottle and that the test method was not sanctioned by CBP.  Baird placed drops of the liquid on a screwdriver to see if they would crystallize instead of using one of the many test kits provided for the station.  

Iredale stated that they “believe he was paid some small amount of money, the going rate is $100 or $200, that they gave the kids to cross the border” with drugs.  Iredale does not believe that the officers tried to kill Velázquez by making him drink the liquid, “but they did… have him prove to them – that it was in fact what he said it was as opposed to a drug, which is what they suspected.”

Velázquez took “as many as four sips” and died going into convulsions and screaming in the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.  The lawsuit alleged assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence against the two officers, Adrian Parellon and Valeria Baird.  The suit has been “settled with a $1 million payment to his family members.” 

 

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Source: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/border-baja-california/sd-me-cbp-meth-death-20170317-story.html

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