MANILA, December 27, 2010 (AFP) – A US naval officer leapt to his death at the Philippines’ main airport on Monday shortly after being caught with a sachet of cocaine, police and embassy officials said.

Lieutenant Commander Scintar Mejia, 35, died from his fall after being caught with a small amount cocaine at Manila International airport late Sunday, said Superintendent Manuel Pintado, an official of the airport police unit.

Mejia, who is of Filipino descent, was found carrying the cocaine during a security search just before he was to depart for Los Angeles, said Pintado.

“He became unruly, he seemed intoxicated. He threw the sachet at the police so we apprehended him and brought him to airport security headquarters,” Pintado told AFP.

The suspect appeared to have calmed down and was interviewed by representatives of the US embassy and US Navy officials, the superintendent added.

While being held overnight at the airport office, Mejia was allowed to go to a bathroom but as he was being led out, he broke away from his escort and jumped off a 10 foot (three-metre) high balcony and landed on his head.

He was rushed to a hospital but died shortly afterwards, Pintado said, adding he could not say if Mejia wanted to commit suicide or was trying to escape.

The US embassy said it was aware of the “tragic incident” and was awaiting further details from local police.

The details of the case remain unclear as Mejia had only been in the country for a day, Pintado said, adding that it was difficult to obtain cocaine in Manila.