BORDER SKIRMISH

A TEEN'S DEATH FORCES THE MILITARY TO QUESTION ITS ROLE IN FIGHTING DRUGS

There was never any dispute about the basic facts of the case. On May 20, Marine Corporal Clemente Banuelos, 22, aimed his M-16 rifle at an 18-year-old goatherd named Esequiel Hernandez Jr. and shot him to death. Banuelos was part of a military surveillance unit helping control drug traffic in the tiny West Texas border town of Redford. He had apparently mistaken Hernandez--who was carrying a rifle and had fired it in the direction of the Marines--for one of the armed scouts who typically act as advance guards for drug smugglers.

A grand jury refused last week to indict Banuelos for...