By JR Elliott
It sounds like something out of the plot of a mob movie: Two corrupt government employees offer a third party who discovers one of their schemes a cut of the profits. When he refuses to accept their dirty money, he is promptly “taken care of.”
Unfortunately, that fictitious trope is suspiciously close to reality in the strangulation death of Sgt. Logan Melgar, a green beret who was found dead back in June while he was participating in a special forces mission in Mali, where a cohort of US military “advisers” have been assisting French and local forces in rooting out terrorist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
According to the Daily Beast, military investigators now suspect that two of Melgar’s colleagues who were members of the elite Navy SEAL team six murdered him after he discovered they were illegally skimming money from a fund used to pay informants. The SEALS offered to cut him in, but Melgar declined, according to the Daily Beast‘s sources.
A few days later, he was found dead.
Nobody knows – or at least nobody would tell the DB – what specifically started the June 4 altercation at 5 am. But the fight quickly escalated and ended with Melgar losing consciousness. He also stopped breathing. The SEALs attempted to open an airway in Melgar’s throat, officials said. It is unknown whether Melgar died immediately. The SEALs and another Green Beret, according to former AFRICOM officials, drove to a nearby French clinic seeking help. Melgar was dead when he arrived at the clinic, the official said. Asphyxiation was the cause of death. While his death was initially ruled an accident, NCIS investigators now suspect that he was strangled to death. Melgar had been working directly with the SEALs during the intelligence mission in Mali.
The fact that the SEALs apparently did such a poor job of covering their tracks has greatly aided investigators. With Melgar dead, an apparent panic set in. The SEALs told superiors that Melgar was drunk during so-called combatives—that is, hand-to-hand fighting exercises – and that he was becoming dangerously violent. However, Petty Officer Anthony E. DeDolph, one of the SEALs, was a mixed-martial arts pro. A source told The Daily Beast the SEALs filed at least one operational report about the incident and possibly two. At least one of the reports included an account that Melgar was drunk.
However, when an autopsy was performed, doctors found no signs that Melgar had been drinking or using drugs at the time of his death. At least one of the DB’s sources said Melgar didn’t drink alcohol. Another said it was “the worst excuse they [the SEALs] could’ve possibly come up with.”
At least one Africa Command official said Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, then commander of Special Operations Command-Africa, was skeptical of the initial reports of Melgar’s death from the outset. He alerted Army Criminal Investigation Command and told commanders in Mali to preserve evidence.
Melgar’s wife, Michelle, was also suspicious. …read more