MIAMI (CBSMiami) – They were so small, investigators didn’t see them until the day after the accident. Several ripped up pieces of a dollar or multiple dollar bills, containing a white residue, which tested positive for cocaine.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators said they found the evidence on DJ Laz’s boat, after they took possession of it and as they did an inventory of everything on board the day after the May 11th, 2014 accident.
They were investigating the death of Ernesto Hernandez, who was killed by Laz’s boat propellers while he helped try to get the South Florida radio celebrity’s boat off the Nixon Beach sandbar with several other men.
CBS4 News has also obtained the audio recording of investigators reading DJ Laz his rights, whose real name is Lazaro Mendez, before questioning him about the accident a few hours after it happened. Mendez declined to cooperate.
The report shows, investigators could not forcibly question or draw blood from Mendez because he showed no signs of alcohol intoxication.
“After consulting with the State Attorney’s Office, the decision was made not to forcibly draw blood. However we did give Mr. Mendez an opportunity to voluntarily give us blood and he refused,” said Jorge Pino, FWC spokesman.
Hernandez’ family attorney Jorge Silva argues investigators had probable cause to draw blood because there were numerous open bottles of alcohol on the boat, when they encountered it.
“Not to have tested the operator of that vessel who was directly responsible for the demise of this young man, is just quite frankly, unspeakable and it doesn’t make any sense….The reason why they didn’t sadly is because of who the individual operating the vehicle was. He was a celebrity,” Silva told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
The Medical Examiner’s Office did however run toxicology tests on the victim, Hernandez. Those tests showed his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Hernandez tested negative for any drug use. Silva said Hernandez was not operating a boat that day.
The Hernandez family has filed a lawsuit against Mendez, accusing him of not giving Hernandez warning before he fired up his powerful boat engines.
Mendez maintains he shouted a warning to back away from the propellers.
The criminal case is closed. Mendez was issued a civil citation for careless boating.
Silva said the Hernandez family was hurt to learn of the findings outlined in the final report.
“The cocaine was obviously something that was devastating to them to know that the degree and amount of gross negligence was even above what they had every anticipated,” said Silva.
CBS4 News has reached out to the attorney for Mendez numerous times, and the attorney’s paralegal. They have not released a statement about the findings in the final report.