By: David Rice Re: Tax Dollars + Cocaine MIAMI (ITN) A judge ordered the government to pay

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By: David Rice Re: Tax Dollars & Cocaine MIAMI (ITN) * A judge ordered the government to pay $871,000 to six people arrested and beaten in Honduras after U.S. drug agents planted cocaine on their plane in 1991 as part of a botched drug sting. The three crew members and three passengers had no idea the plane was loaded with cocaine when they made a stopover in Honduras en route from Belize to Miami. Honduran officials also knew nothing of the planned sting. "The incarceration of the plaintiffs was directly caused by the action of the U.S. government," U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno said Wednesday in ruling in the seven-day, nonjury trial. The six sued the U.S. government, claiming it was liable for the bungled sting. U.S. Attorney Cynthia Everett said it wasn't immediately known if the government would appeal. Drug Enforcement Administration officers put about 90 pounds of cocaine on board the Belize Air International Ltd. plane as part of a plan to capture drug runners when the craft landed in Miami. But drug dogs discovered the cocaine in Honduras, and the six were arrested and held for 12 days. During their imprisonment, they were "blindfolded, handcuffed, beaten, threatened with cattle prods and kicked, all in an attempt to make them confess to a crime which they had not committed," the lawsuit claimed. American authorities later admitted they had bungled the operation by failing to notify Honduras the drugs were on the plane. The six were each awarded between $95,000 and $155,000. =========================================================== Our tax dollars at work. -- drice ... No, but you sure as hell implied it, Gerbil Boy.

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