Miami Attorney, Louis A. Vucci, has filed a $5 million claim against the Coast Guard as compensation. Specifically, the U.S Coast Guard gunned down a suspected drug trafficking vessel that was registered in Colombia off the eastern Nicaraguan coast, leaving two men dead during the evening of August 22, 2012.
When the boat finally stopped, it was clear that the Coast Guard’s interdiction mission had gone awry.
One of the three crewmen on the boat was dying and a second was injured. Coast Guard officials did not find any drugs on the boat, perhaps because the crewmen threw the narcotics into the water before the gunfire.
Now, a Miami lawyer who represents the Colombian family of the slain crewman, has filed a $5 million claim against the Coast Guard as compensation for the death at sea.
On Friday, Coast Guard spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo issued this statement on the case: “On June 17, 2014, the Coast Guard received a $5 million claim for wrongful death. This claim arises from the interdiction of a suspected narcotics trafficking vessel. The vessel operator failed to comply with a lawful order to heave-to on August 22, 2012. As a result, a Coast Guard helicopter employed warning shots and disabling fire to stop the vessel. The Coast Guard boarding team arrived on scene to discover one of the vessel’s crew members deceased. The matter is under internal agency review, and the Coast Guard has a general policy of not commenting on the merits of individual claims.”
According to documents obtained from the Coast Guard by the Miami attorney, Louis A. Vucci, the fateful event unfolded as the helicopter crew member fired disabling fire at the boat.