DEA must disclose files in Arkansas teens’ railroad deaths
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A judge has ordered the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to disclose the contents of decades-old documents related to two Arkansas teenagers who were found dead on railroad tracks.
Judge Brian Miller gave the DEA until Friday to figure out how to disclose parts of the files to satisfy Linda Ives’ public records requests without revealing information that must remain secret, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .
Ives has been seeking information from the DEA and other government agencies that she thinks might offer clues about the deaths of her son Kevin Ives, 17, and his friend Don Henry, 16. The two were found Aug. 23, 1987, on a stretch of Saline County railroad tracks. The deaths are believed to be possibly linked to a drug-trafficking ring that may have involved famed drug smuggler Barry Seal.
Ives filed a lawsuit in 2016 accusing several federal, state and local authorities of participating in what she called a “cover-up” by refusing to comply with numerous public records requests she filed over the last nearly 30 years. The lawsuit said the documents supplied in response to her requests were so heavily redacted that they were indecipherable.
Miller dismissed most of the agencies from the lawsuit but said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “failed to adequately search for information requested by Ives” and found that the DEA “has not provided Ives with all reasonably segregable information.”
The DEA has not yet responded to the order.
Seal was a pilot who regularly flew to and from the Mena airport in Polk county in the 1980s. He was known for smuggling drugs from Colombia back into the U.S. He eventually became an undercover informant for the DEA, according to a 1988 article by the newspaper.
Talk of low-flying planes seen in the area where Kevin and Don were run over by a train in Saline County led to speculation the boys were killed because they stumbled upon a covert drug drop. The state medical examiner said at the time the teens appeared to have been in a marijuana-induced sleep when the train ran over them, but a second pathologist said he believed they died before their bodies were placed on the tracks.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com