Nicaragua Declares 18 Mexicans Guilty

By Dialogo
December 21, 2012

A Nicaraguan court declared 18 Mexicans guilty of money laundering and drug trafficking on December 19. In August, the criminals were arrested in Nicaragua with $9.2 million, while in transit through Central America, and posed as journalists and technicians from the Mexican media chain Televisa.

Judge Edgard Altamirano, from the Ninth District Criminal Court, declared Raquel Alatorre, identified as the group’s leader, and her 17 partners as guilty for the charges of money laundering, organized crime and international drug trafficking, announced.

The Mexican nationals entered Nicaragua on August 20, through a border check point in Las Manos, posing as journalists and technicians of the Mexican media chain Televisa, which denied being linked to the group.

In the investigations of the so-called “Televisa case,” the judge argued that “there is no doubt” that there was money laundering involved, because there is no evidence to consider that the money “was legally earned.”

Altamirano also predicts that there is an illegal organization that operates from Mexico through Central America, while the defense did not present any proof of the journalistic activity allegedly performed by the Mexican nationals.

The prosecution stated that they were able to move freely through the country, posing as Televisa employees and using the company’s credentials and logos in order to transfer money from north to south, and they transported drugs once they were back. Traces of cocaine were found in the occupied vehicles.

The prosecution also called 21 people to testify, most of which were police investigators, some of them with their faces covered to protect their identity, as well as four civilian hotel employees at the hotel where the gang was staying in Nicaragua.

The evidence submitted to Judge Altamirano included seized cash, jewelry, vehicles with cutting-edge communication technology and details of migratory entries and departures made between 2008 and 2012 in over 40 trips by at least four of the detainees, including Alatorre.