The U.S. Border Patrol helped aim the gun that killed Esequiel Hernandez Jr. near the Texas-Mexico border, according to a scathing report on the 1997 shooting by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio).
Smith's 249-page report reached many of the same conclusions as the San Antonio Current investigation presented by the Metro Times ("Drug war masquerade," Sept. 30-Oct. 6). Smith found that the surveillance mission was poorly conceived and hastily planned; the young Marine who killed Hernandez was untrained and misinformed; and there was shockingly little communication between local Border Patrol agents and the Marines ostensibly working under their supervision.
But Smith fired his sharpest criticism at the Justice Department.
"To this day, no Justice Department personnel have been held accountable for their negligence or wrongdoing in the Hernandez killing," the Smith report said. --Monte Paulsen
Rep. Lamar Smith's full statement can be read at
Rep. Smith's complete report can be downloaded from