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April 16, 2014

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Boat operator guilty of killing Coast Guardsman

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 | 1:49 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal jury in Los Angeles has convicted a Mexican national of killing a U.S. Coast Guard crewman when he rammed a 30-foot panga boat into the vessel the victim was aboard.

U.S. attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek says Jose Meija Leyva was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder of a federal officer.

Meija Leyva rammed his boat into a Coast Guard vessel as it approached on Dec. 2, 2012, during a drug-smuggling investigation off the coast of Southern California.

Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III was knocked into the water. He was fatally struck in the head by the panga boat's propeller.

Another guardsman was injured.

A second man aboard the panga, Manuel Beltran Higuera of Mexico, was convicted of lesser charges.