Two Navy SEALs being investigated over the death of an Army Green Beret in Mali in June are accused of killing him after he discovered they had been stealing, according to a report in the Daily Beast.
CNN has not independently verified the information in Saturday’s article, which the Daily Beast attributes to “five members of the special-operations community who were not cleared to speak publicly.”
Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesman Ed Buice confirmed to CNN last month that the NCIS was investigating whether two members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six killed Army Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar.
The Navy investigation
The New York Times was the first to report that the SEALs were under investigation for Melgar’s death at a US government compound near the American embassy in Bamako, the capital.
Melgar was a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant, according to a statement from the US Army Special Command.
Military officials told CNN that a military examiner ruled Melgar’s death while on assignment in the African nation of Mali as a homicide.
An official said jurisdiction for the investigation shifted from the Army investigation service to the Navy in September. The official said the transfer of jurisdiction indicated that Navy personnel were subjects of the investigation.
Melgar’s cause of death was asphyxiation, according to a defense official familiar with the findings of the medical examiner’s report.
The Daily Beast article cites two special operations sources as saying the SEALs under investigation over Melgar’s death had been taking money from a fund used to pay informants.
It says the sources allege that Melgar uncovered the theft and declined an offer to take a cut of the proceeds.
On June 4, according to the Daily Beast’s sources, an altercation broke out – the cause of which the article says is unknown – and Melgar stopped breathing. The SEALs and another Green Beret took Melgar to hospital, the Beast quotes former AFRICOM officials as saying.
Special forces group
Melgar, a native of Lubbock, Texas, enlisted in the US Army in 2012 and began Special Forces training in 2013, according to the US Army Special Command statement. He served two deployments to Afghanistan.
Melgar was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group, which is the primary unit responsible for Army special operations in northwest Africa, including Mali and Niger. Four American soldiers killed in Niger in October were part of the same group.
Like neighboring Niger, Mali has faced significant, deadly extremism. Gunmen attacked a luxury resort in Mali the same month Melgar died, and in August there were two separate attacks on United Nations missions there.
CNN’s Barbara Starr, Eli Watkins and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.