Two men charged with killing a Coast Guard officer

December 4, 2012

Federal prosecutors have charged two Mexican nationals in the killing of a Coast Guard officer who died as a result of being thrown from a Coast Guard vessel that was rammed by a “panga” boat operated by the Mexicans.

Officer Horne, a 34-year-old Redondo Beach resident, was killed during a law enforcement operation that began late on December 1 when a Coast Guard airplane identified a suspicious boat about one mile off Santa Cruz Island.

After Coast Guard personnel on the Coast Guard cutter Halibut boarded the boat, the airplane identified another suspicious vessel nearby in Smuggler’s Cove on Santa Cruz Island.The airplane reported that the suspicious vessel in Smuggler’s Cove was an approximately 30-foot-long open-bowed fishing vessel, commonly referred to as a “panga” boat.

Coast Guard officers aboard the Halibut launched the Halibut’s small, rigid hull, inflatable boat with four officers aboard. The Coast Guard small boat crew located the panga boat approximately 200 yards from the eastern shore of Santa Cruz Island at approximately 1:20 a.m. on December 2.

As the Coast Guard’s small boat approached the panga boat, the officers activated the boat’s police lights and identified themselves as law enforcement. The crew members of the panga boat then throttled the engines and steered the panga boat toward the small boat, according to the affidavit. As the panga boat rapidly approached the Coast Guard’s small boat, the officer at the helm attempted to avoid a collision by steering the small boat out of the path of the panga boat, and another officer fired several shots from his service weapon at the panga boat.

Despite these efforts, the panga boat rammed into the Coast Guard’s small boat, ejecting Officer Horne and another officer into the water, the complaint alleges. Officer Horne was struck by a propeller in the head and sustained a traumatic head injury. He was subsequently pronounced dead by paramedics. The other officer sustained a laceration to his knee.

After striking the Coast Guard’s small boat, the panga boat crew fled the scene.

Coast Guard aircraft followed the panga boat until it was intercepted by a Coast Guard vessel approximately 20 miles north of the Mexico-United States border. Jose Meija-Leyva and Manuel Beltran-Higuera were detained after further attempts to flee the Coast Guard, according to the complaint.

A criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court charges the two men in the death of Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, a 14-year-veteran of the Coast Guard who died early yesterday morning while his boat was attempting to interdict the panga boat near Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

One dead American family man serving our country equals 100 dead drug dealers invading our shore.

Coast Guard, shoot at will, sell their vessels and give the money to the dead man’s family. But Nafta will prevent any retribution, commerce first, justice second.

If the Coast Guard takes this without turning up the heat then they might as well leave their weapons at the dock.

The more these turds get their loads through, the more will come.

I’m for dropping those two Mexicans about 20 miles out to sea.

That, hopefully would be the end of them.

Zuma7 want’s to murder Mexicans. Noted.

I don’t know. If you look at this biblically, I could see it eye for an eye. They rammed the boat and besides the head injury to the Guard, they left him in the water for dead as they fled. So leaving them in the water would technically be the same.

OMG I’m starting to sound like Slanders but it is true.

Who gets their weed from Mexico anymore?

God, that’s funny as hell.

I believe a lapse in judgement caused them to spread themselves to thin & they paid for it brutally. Possibly that’s protocol but they came up against hundreds of horsepower in a small blow up raft it sounds like.

I’d have probably done the same thing…..just unfortunate it worked out this way.

If anyone here smokes the dope, you are complicit in this guys death.

No need, no weed.

Hmm slippery slope. You have a point but like others and I have said before you can also say the same thing about prohibition. We have seen this before. Legalize and most, not all, of the problems will subside. No I don’t smoke or use. Just a Libertarian tired of seeing us beat this dead horse of pot.

Now I know some will think horrible to think this way. So why are we not legalizing? To save some pot head, who is getting anyway? We are spending more money and more lives to stop something that is a losing war. If you don’t believe me I again reference Rolling Stone Mag. article from Dec. of 2007 title how we lost the war on drugs. It is a GREAT read about pot, meth and all of it.

FOLKS the Genie is out of the bottle, I know that legalization isn’t the best BUT it is the best of what I have seen. Please show me I’m wrong. I would love to be but we have done this for FORTY years and it has become worse not better. Do we have less drugs now then in the early seventies? Do we have less people on drugs than in the seventies? We have failed. I say legalize, make prices drop and make it unattractive to make any money for the dealers. Again we have seen this experiment in the late 20’s and early 30’s. Failed then (illegal) as it is failing now.

QUOTING NO_MORE_ANGER: “If anyone here smokes the dope, you are complicit in this guys death.

Californians voted to make the medicinal use of weed legal in California. However, Obama has been sensitized to the issue because of his own past recreational use of weed. I don’t think anything is wrong with smoking weed, medicinally or recreationally. I do think it is wrong for a president to use the power of the Oval Office to stomp over states’ rights just because HE smoked pot recreationally when he was young, it has become a politically sensitive issue for him, and so he must appear to be tough on “drugs.”

This has made it difficult in some areas for those who use weed for medical purposes to get the consistent supply they need, and, therefore, it may have increased the drug smuggling from Mexico into California.

So who is at fault for the drug smuggling going on is a complicated issue, and the guilt goes all the way to the Oval Office. I am sure it involves many other entities along the way, too.

However, as far as the murder of Officer Horne, the only fault lies with the drug smugglers who attempted to smuggle the weed into California and, when caught, instead of manning up and surrendering to the Coast Guard officers, they attempted to kill the Coast Guard officers, who were trying bring them in, by ramming the Coast Guard vehicle with their own panga boat. They were partially successful in their efforts because they did, horribly unfortunately, kill one Coast Guard officer.

If our Coast Guard had been properly armed the results may have been differant. Automatic weapons should be stamdard issue for any future boarding parties and Cobra gunship hovering overhead

They do have automatic weapons. Cutters (as the main ship that launched the inflatable) have automatic weapons. The Coast Guard has been armed for years. I don’t know how far back but at least since the ninteen eighties. I remember when a lot of this kind of stuff was in the news down off Florida and the cocaine coming in from South America by sea.

I saw a picture years ago of one of their ships and two different guys on different sides of ship manned, at what looked to be fifty cal. deck guns.

My guess is this went wrong because of some kind of portocal that they follow, just like other military, that isn’t always set up well to protect our men.