Agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fired the shots that killed one of the Brazilians aboard a plane carrying more than two tons of cocaine that was forced down in Honduras last week, the American embassy in Tegucigalpa said Monday.
Elias Aureliano Herrera was accompanying another Brazilian pilot on board a Colombian-registered small plane that was forced to land last Tuesday near the eastern town of Catacamas.
"When the Honduran police team and the DEA agents arrived at the plane, one of the seriously injured pilots was arrested while the other, who ignored orders to surrender, fired on them after making a threatening gesture," U.S. Embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak told Efe.
The pilot who survived, George Luis Rivera, 44, remains hospitalized in Tegucigalpa under heavy security.
This is the second occasion on which the DEA has acknowledged that its agents fired at alleged drug traffickers during joint operations with Honduran security forces.
On June 24, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa confirmed that the day before one of the DEA agents fired at a suspected drug trafficker in the Ahuas sector, where authorities seized 360 kilos of cocaine.
Honduran authorities in 2011 confiscated more than 22 tons of cocaine in several operations in the Caribbean. EFE