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Mexican family receives $1m settlement after 16-year-old forced to drink liquid meth

March 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican family receives $1m settlement after 16-year-old forced to drink liquid meth

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The relatives of a Mexican teen who died after he was told to drink from a bottle of liquid meth has been granted $1 million in damages.

Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo, 16, arrived from Tijuana at the U.S. border in 2013, as he shook with nervousness and spoke very quickly. He had no criminal history and is alleged to have been paid approximately $150 to transport the bottle of drugs across the border, NBC Los Angeles reported.

When he was approached by border patrol agents, he told them that the liquid was apple juice. They asked him to take a drink to show them that it was not harmful – and two hours later he died as he screamed and convulsed.

Eugene Iredale, an attorney for the Velazquez family, said the border agents acted recklessly.

“I don’t think they deliberately killed the boy,” he stated.

Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo, 16 died after ingesting liquid meth

“But they did, in telling him to drink it to prove to themselves — or have him prove that it was what he said it was – as opposed to a drug, which is what they suspected.

“They have many test kits available” at the border, the attorney continued, but the kits were not used.

In the suit, the teen’s family asserted that the boy started shouting “the chemicals” in Spanish and then, “Mi Corazon! Mi corazon!” He then began to convulse uncontrollably.

Valerie Baird and Adrian Parellon, the agents, named in the suit, continue to work with the CBP in San Diego, the agency said in a statement, noting that they are evaluating their procedures.

Iredale referenced testimony from another officer, alleging that Baird had told her: “Oh my God, I told him to drink, I asked him what it was, he said it was juice, I said, ‘Well then prove it.’”

Baird’s and Parellon’s attorneys both contended that they were shielded by qualified immunity, which means officers should not be liable unless their behavior was clearly incompetent or that they intentionally violated the law.

Both officers denied coercing the teenager to drink from the bottle – with each officer accusing the other of forcing the teen.

The Mexican consulate in San Diego verified that the family had reached a settlement.

“It’s never enough when you lose a life,” Marcela Celorio, the Mexican consul general in San Diego, said, who called it a “high visibility case” for the government of Mexico.

“The family lost their son, and the father was committed to finding justice. What’s important is the family is at peace with the agreement.”

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