Cruz Velazquez Acevedo was attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in 2013 to San Diego when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers checked his belongings.
The 16-year-old was carrying two bottles of liquid that he claimed was apple juice. The border officers told him to drink it to prove he wasn't lying.
Acevedo took four sips of what he claimed to be apple juice. However, the teen wasn't carrying a fruity beverage, he was carrying liquid meth.
Moments after he took a few sips, he began sweating. Within a couple of minutes, he started clenching his fists and screaming. His body temperature was suddenly a whopping 105 degrees, and his pulse reached a rate of 220 beats per minute, which is twice the normal rate for the average adult.
“Mi corazón! Mi corazón!” Acevedo shouted, according to court records. (My heart! My heart!)
Two hours later, the teen was found dead.
The officers could've easily just done their jobs and used a test kit (I mean, that IS protocol), but instead, they coerced a poor kid into killing himself.
It's been over three years since Acevedo died, and finally, the United States agreed to pay his family $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government.
While his family acknowledges his drug smuggling was wrong, they don't believe he deserved death.
“It wasn’t a death penalty case. To cause him to die in a horrible way that he did is something that is execrable," said Eugene Iredale, the family's attorney.
It's quite common for young kids in Mexico to smuggle drugs across the border for adults for some extra cash, so it's quite possible that Acevedo had no idea what affect the meth would have on him.
It is unclear why Acevedo was attempting to bring meth into the United States, but because of his death, we'll never find out.
Regardless of what his motive was, what really matters is that he wrongfully died at the hands of the U.S. government.
What would've been a short sentence turned into the death penalty.