Three more people have died in drug war-related incidents in recent days, including a police officer. They are the 40th, 41st, and 42nd persons to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
Last Sunday, a Las Cruces, New Mexico, man died two days after swallowing a plastic bag containing cocaine as he was being booked into the Dona Ana County Jail. Hemilo Salcedo, 57, had been arrested on a warrant charging him with two counts of drug trafficking and was changing from civilian clothes to a prisoner's uniform when a jailer noticed part of a plastic bag protruding from his rectum. The jailer told him to remove it himself, and when Salcedo did, he immediately put it in his mouth and swallowed it. The jailer ordered him to spit it out, then noticed he was choking and attempted unsuccessfully to dislodge the baggie. Salcedo died at a local hospital two days later. Police said the bag contained three grams of cocaine and may have contained more.
On Monday night, Puerto Rican police officer Wilfredo Ramos Nieves was shot and killed as he took part in a drug raid with six other officers in Bayamon. The 15-year veteran was shot twice when police saw an armed man and attempted to detain him. The shooter opened fire instead, fatally wounding Ramos Nieves before being shot and wounded by police. He and a companion fled, but were later arrested. Ramos Nieves is the third Puerto Rican officer to be killed in the line of duty this year and the second one killed because of drug law enforcement.