Two elite Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders have been charged with felony murder in the June 2017 strangulation death of U.S. Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar.
The U.S. Navy brought the charges against the four service members, painting a gruesome picture of the effort to kill Melgar, 34.
The suspects are accused of driving to Marine quarters to obtain duct tape, breaking into Melgar’s room while he was sleeping, restraining him with the duct tape, and strangling him in a chokehold.
The four U.S. service members, which include two members of the famed SEAL Team Six, killed Melgar “while perpetrating a burglary,” according to their charge sheets.
In addition to felony murder, the charges against the four men include conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary.
SEAL Team Six is the special operations force famed for killing Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
Melgar was killed in Bamako, Mali, where U.S. forces were working with local military to counter the local Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Part of the intelligence gathering operation in Mali involved a fund used to pay informants.
Two Special Operation sources told the Daily Beast that Melgar discovered the pair of SEALs were skimming off of the top of the dirty military money to keep for themselves.
When he confronted them about it, sources say the pair told Melgar they could get him a cut of the money in return for his silence. He allegedly refused.
It isn’t clear what happened that sparked an altercation between Melgar and the two SEALs at around 5am on June 4.
But the sources allege that things escalated to the point that Melgar ended up losing consciousness and eventually stopped breathing, suggesting that he was suffocated.
In a panic the SEALs attempted to open an airway in Melgar’s throat, officials claimed.
When that failed to revive him, the two SEALs told another Green Beret on the operation that Melgar was unconscious, and the three of them took him to a French clinic for help.
But Melgar was dead on arrival. It’s not clear exactly when he died, but he died of asphyxiation.
Meglar’s superiors suspected foul play and dispatched an investigating officer to the scene within 24 hours.
The SEAL pair then tried to cover their involvement by telling superiors that Melgar was drunk during combat training – or hand-to-hand fighting exercises – and that is how he got himself knocked out and killed.
But it was a bad excuse because the autopsy report eventually came back, proving that there were no traces of drugs or alcohol in the Green Beret’s system.
Brig. Gen Donald Bolduc, who is the Commander of the Special Ops Command-Africa, was allegedly skeptical of the SEALs stories and the initial reports about Melgar’s death, and told commanders in Mali to preserve any evidence.
Melgar, who was from Lubbock, Texas, served two tours in Afghanistan.
He graduated from Texas Tech in 2006, and enlisted in the Army in 2012 as an off-the-street Special Forces recruit. He graduated from Special Forces Qualification in 2016.