US agents shoot dead Honduras 'drug flight pilot'

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Two agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shot dead the pilot of a suspected drug flight last week, a DEA spokeswoman has said.

It happened on 3 July when a small plane being tracked by Honduran and DEA agents crashed in eastern Honduras.

One of the two pilots was shot after "resisting arrest", the spokeswoman said.

It is the second fatal shooting by DEA agents who are working with local police to intercept drug flights.

DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said on Sunday that the security forces found two pilots at the crash site south of Catacamas.

One pilot was injured and taken into custody.

The second "ignored orders to surrender and was shot after making a threatening gesture," Ms Dearden said.

Honduran police recovered about 900kg of cocaine from the aircraft.

In June, a DEA agent shot a suspected drug trafficker in northern Honduras, while an anti-narcotics raid in May involving a team of Honduran and US agents led to the deaths of four people.

Local people said those killed were innocent passengers on a river boat at night.

Since April, the Honduran and US authorities have stepped up efforts against illegal drug flights.

The operation is run with six US state department helicopters and a special team of DEA agents working with Honduran police, a US official in Honduras told the Associated Press news agency.

Honduras is a key stopover for traffickers smuggling drugs from South America to the US.

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