Shocking never-seen-before footage on ABC’s 20/20 shows the moment US border officers allegedly urged Mexican teenager Cruz Velazquez Acevedo to drink liquid methamphetamine, which killed him within hours.
The 16-year-old high school student had been trying to smuggle the highly toxic drug into the US from Mexico when he was stopped by border officers.
When he claimed the liquid in the two bottles he was carrying was apple juice the two allegedly encouraged him to drink from one of them to prove it wasn’t contraband.
He took four sips and started suffering convulsions shortly afterwards, reportedly shouting in Spanish “the chemicals!” and “my heart, my heart!”.
His heart-rate reportedly reached 220 beats per minute, more than twice the normal rate for adults.
Velazquez died around two hours later after being taken to a hospital.
The CCTV footage on this week’s episode of 20/20 is taken from ninety minutes of film captured inside the San Ysidro Port of Entry border point in Southern California, near Velazquez’s home city of Tijuana.
In it Velazquez is seen being questioned by the Border Protection officers before they allegedly encourage him to drink the suspected contraband.
Cameras then capture the shocking moment he sips from one of the bottles, before rapidly becoming sick and being carried from the station on a stretcher.
The teenager’s family were awarded $1million by the United Sates after a wrongful-death lawsuit was brought against the two border officers and the U.S. government.
Both the officers, Adrian Perallon and Valerie Baird, deny urging Velazquez to sip from the bottle.
A release from ABC about tonight’s 20/20 episode says: “Both officers deny encouraging him to drink and claim Velazquez volunteered to drink from the bottle and have been officially cleared of any wrongdoing. Both are on the job to this day.”
Also featured in the episode are interviews with Velazquez’s sister Reyna, the family’s attorney Gene Iredale, the ousted former head of Customs Internal Affairs James Tomsheck, and Mitra Ebadolahi of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Gil Kerlikowske, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection under President Obama’s administration, also features.
It also looks at several cases where border officers and agents have been accused of abusing people crossing the border, but have gone on to face few consequences.
20/20 airs Fridays at 10/9c on ABC.