Will Washington’s ‘Operation Anvil’ drive drug traffickers elsewhere?
Nick Miroff July 15, 2012 06:00
When the Central American country with the largest US military presence — Honduras — also became the region’s preferred landing zone for international cocaine traffickers, it was probably inevitable that someone was going to get hurt.
But a recent series of lethal encounters along the muddy riverbanks and crude airstrips of Honduras’ isolated Mosquitia region may be shaking up the entire drug war fight in Central America, and shift smuggling routes elsewhere.
US agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have moved aggressively in recent weeks against trafficking suspects in Honduras. Agents swooped down in helicopters and killed two alleged smugglers in separate incidents on June 23 and July 3.
The shootings are the first known instances of DEA agents killing suspected traffickers in Central America since the agency began conducting joint operations with local security forces. In both cases, US officials said the agents fired in self-defense after the alleged traffickers made threatening gestures or appeared to reach for a weapon.