In late October, the New York Times reported that the death of a Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, had been ruled a homicide by strangulation. Two unidentified Navy SEALs, who stayed in the same embassy housing as Melgar and other Special Ops forces, were officially placed under suspicion, but the circumstances surrounding Melgar’s murder remained murky. Some within the Green Beret community speculated that he may have stumbled upon some illicit activity, or that a personal dispute had escalated into violence between the elite troops.
A new Daily Beast report now fills in some blanks, at least, according to members of the specials-ops community who spoke anonymously to the outlet. The Beast reports that Melgar had spoken to his wife about “the bad feeling” he had about two SEALs in question, yet he didn’t elaborate why he felt that way. Further, the Beast details what Melgar reportedly discovered about the men who are now under suspicion in his death. Apparently, this came down to the SEALs pocketing illicit cash:
As the elite troops do in so many countries, they operate in the shadows, with comparatively little oversight — and what their actions actually look like on the ground can be much dirtier than the heroic image the Pentagon prefers to portray. For example, part of the intelligence gathering operation in Mali involved a fund used to pay informants.
Melgar, two special operations sources say, discovered the SEALs were pocketing some of the money from the informant fund. The SEALS offered to cut him in, but Melgar declined, these sources said.
The Beast adds that an altercation then commenced and escalated, and after Melgar’s dead body was delivered to the nearest clinic, the SEALs reportedly panicked. They reportedly claimed that he was drunk while they were engaging in hand-to-hand fighting exercises with him. They even filed an operational report or two to that effect. However, officials say that Melgar’s autopsy report showed no drugs or alcohol in his system, which pokes plenty of holes in the SEALs’ accounts.
In addition, our friends at The Intercept recently reported that one of the SEALS under suspicion, Petty Officer Anthony E. DeDolph, is a mixed martial arts fighter, per military officials who spoke anonymously. The outlet adds that Melgar’s autopsy report was followed by the SEALs’ claims that he was “grappling” with them when he ended up in a “chokehold.” They claimed that Melgar passed out in the process, and their efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. Add this to the Beast’s report about illicit cash discovery, and the probe into Melgar’s death has grown even more tangled.