Relatives began to come forward, trying to convince investigators — and the U.S. government — that those shot were not drug smugglers, but locals who use the rivers as roads and were moving from place to place when attacked in a raid by Honduran police flying in U.S. helicopters and aided by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
“The boat was just transporting people and some cargo. They were coming to town to spend Mother’s Day,” said Serene Trapp, a cousin of Candelaria Trapp, 45, a pregnant single mother of six who was allegedly killed in a burst of gunfire from a helicopter. “I know all the people on the boat,” Serene Trapp said in a phone interview. “None of them were smugglers.”
News of the firefight, along with allegations of the four deaths, led local residents to torch several houses and demand that U.S. drug enforcement agents leave the area, according to the mayor.