Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators found several ripped up pieces of a dollar or multiple dollar bills containing cocaine residue on DJ Laz’s boat, a day after a man was killed by Laz’s boat propellers.
The investigators were looking into the death of Ernesto Hernandez, who was killed on May 11, 2014, while he helped try to get the South Florida radio celebrity’s boat off the Nixon Beach sandbar with several other men.
CBS4 News obtained the audio recording of investigators reading DJ Laz his rights before questioning him about the accident a few hours after it happened. DJ Laz — whose real name is Lazaro Mendez — declined to cooperate.
According to the FWC report, 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 ran toxicology tests on Hernandez, the victim. 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.