The U.S. Department of Defense is now formally pressing charges against the two Navy SEALs and two MARSOC Marines implicated in the strangulation of Green Beret Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar in Mali. These charges include felony murder, conspiracy, and providing false statements to investigators. The two SEAL Team Six operators being charged have been previously identified as Petty Officer Adam Matthews and Petty Officer Anthony DeDolph.
The investigation into the matter was prolonged because Army CID and other investigators had to sort through the lies they were allegedly told by the two SEALs about the incident. The SEALs first told investigators that they entered into a mutually agreed upon wrestling match that night, a friendly combatives match of the type that is not uncommon amongst Special Operations soldiers. This turned out to be false.
The charge sheet states that the two SEALs drove to where the Marines were staying at their base in Mali to obtain duct tape, then drove back to their own compound, broke through the locked door to SSG Melgar’s room, restrained him with the duct tape, and then placed him in a chokehold until the Special Forces soldier died from strangulation. Most Special Operations soldiers are trained in combatives, a derivative of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which teaches submission techniques. Additionally, DeDolph was a trained mixed martial arts fighter. This makes it unlikely that they would have choked the soldier to death by accident.
The motivation for the murder will likely be further explained during a court-martial, but stories about the SEALs being involved with illegal drugs and illicit cash has been implied, and that they felt Melgar needed to be silenced. The Daily Beast reported today, “‘There was an ongoing disagreement between the Green Beret and DeDolph over the SEALs’ professionalism,’ a source familiar with the episode told The Daily Beast. Melgar was upset with lapses in operational security, the source said. DeDolph and Matthews, both members of SEAL Team Six, were soliciting prostitutes and taking them back to the safe house in Bamako, Mali’s capital city.”
That the SEALs may have been bringing prostitutes back to their safe house in Mali is interesting, largely because it is far from unprecedented. Back in 2012, NEWSREP reported on three American soldiers who died in Bamako when the van they were driving plunged off of a bridge and into a river. Also killed in the van were three local women. A source in Mali at the time told NEWSREP that the three women were prostitutes, and that they were being driven to a safe house on the other side of the river. He also confirmed that prostitutes are not used as human intelligence sources. The three soldiers were alleged to be working for the Army’s secretive Intelligence Support Activity (ISA).
After Melgar was killed, the SEALs reportedly attempted CPR and strangely attempted a tracheotomy or cricothyrotomy — a medical procedure that is usually not used unless the patient’s face has been damaged in an explosion or other similar injury. The charge sheet states that the SEALs then began their cover up of the crime, disposing of alcohol, coaching witnesses, and generating false timelines.
These charges come just a day after charges were pressed against Chief Edward Gallagher, assigned to SEAL Team 7 who allegedly executed a prisoner in Iraq in 2017 before posing with the body during a re-enlistment ceremony. In that case, the charges also include murder and obstruction of justice. Over the last several years, dozens of incidents have come to light regarding the Navy SEALs — much of it based in SEAL Team Six — involving everything from drug abuse to a systematic culture of committing war crimes.
Staff Sergeant Melgar’s widow provided the following statement to NEWSREP. “I fully support SOCOM, NCIS, and the prosecutors. It is important to me that we continue to support all of our Special Operators and their efforts to work together. The actions of these individuals is not a direct reflection on the organizations themselves. I am grateful for the continued support that SOCOM has shown me and my family throughout the investigation.”