Sources close to the investigation into a Green Beret’s death in Africa say the soldier may have discovered that two Navy SEALs, who have since been identified as “persons of interest” in the case, were allegedly stealing cash meant for their mission.
As investigators began to untangle what happened to Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar on June 4 in the embassy housing he shared with two SEALs and another Green Beret in Bamako, Mali, one early detail didn’t add up, according to a report in The Daily Beast.
The two SEALs now under investigation for Melgar’s death by strangulation told investigators that Melgar, 34, was drunk while grappling with the SEALs around 5 a.m. There have not been charges filed in the case.
The problem, according to unnamed sources familiar with the investigation cited in a recent report by The Daily Beast, was that toxicology reports showed no alcohol or drugs in Melgar’s system.
Also, shortly before his death, Melgar, who was assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group, had told his wife, Michelle, that he had a “bad feeling” about the SEALs, with whom he was working as part of an intelligence-gathering mission through the embassy.
Michelle, also suspicious about her husband’s death, shared those emails with investigators.
Melgar’s wife told CNN that she did not want to speak to the media.
Two special operations sources told The Daily Beast that Melgar had discovered the SEALs were taking money from the operation’s informant fund, cash used to pay informants for information.
The sources also allege that the SEALs offered to cut Melgar in on the illicit cash, but he refused.
These new allegations aren’t the first to cast doubt on the SEALs and their possible involvement in the case.
Petty Officer Anthony DeDolph, one of the SEALs and a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, and the other SEAL, who has not yet been publicly identified, first told investigators that they found Melgar unresponsive in the shared housing. It wasn’t until an autopsy revealed that Melgar had died of “homicide by asphyxiation” that the pair told investigators that they’d been grappling, according to a report by The Intercept.
The two SEALs and another Green Beret, who also has not been publicly identified, tried to revive Melgar and took him to a French medical facility. He was dead upon arrival, according to The Daily Beast report.
The SEALs were removed from their duties in Mali and put on administrative leave during the investigation, according to The Intercept article.
Army Criminal Investigation Command investigators turned over the case to Naval Criminal Investigative Services on Sept. 24. A brief time later, reporting by the New York Times made the incident public. Department of Defense officials did not release information regarding Melgar’s death at the time of his passing.
NCIS spokesman Ed Buice confirmed that the Army had turned over the investigation. He declined further comment, as did officials with Special Operations Command and Africa Command.
Melgar was a Texas native who graduated from Texas Tech University in 2006, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. He enlisted in the Army in 2012, graduating the Special Forces Qualification course in 2016. He had served two previous tours in Afghanistan, also with 3rd Special Forces Group.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, officials said.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.