Nicaragua Sentences 18 Mexicans for Money Laundering

By Dialogo
December 12, 2012

A Nicaraguan Court proceeded to sentence 18 Mexicans accused of money laundering, international drug trafficking, and organized crime association on December 10. The individuals were detained in August, when they transported $9.2 million.

The ninth judge, Criminal Trial District, Edgard Altamirano, opened the process at noon on December 10, under tight security, in the judiciary complex of Nejapa, west of Managua.

The Mexicans entered Nicaragua through an immigration post in Las Manos, 220 kilometers north of Managua on August 20, and introduced themselves as journalists and technicians working for the Mexican broadcasting company Televisa, according to the prosecutor.

Among the accused Mexicans, there is Raquel Alatorre, only woman and alleged leader of the gang, who said she was a Televisa journalist and anchor.

Three witnesses for the prosecution with their heads covered to protect their identity, immigration officials, and police investigators said Alatorre was the person giving orders to the other 17 detainees.

The Mexicans were in Nicaragua at least five times between 2010 and 2012, according to hotel registries where they stayed every time they entered the country.

“Most of the time, they registered under Televisa or Raquel Alatorre,” stated guest services agent for the hotel in the capital, María Eugenia Mejía.

On August 22 this year, the group stayed at the hotel, and Alatorre asked for nine executive rooms again, paid in cash and did not ask for a bill. They were there in July as well, but there was no proof of payment because “nobody picked up the bill or change,” employee Julio Rocha said.

The Mexican television company denied any link with the accused, and did report misappropriation of the name and signature faculties, and requested to be represented in the trial with two lawyers of a Nicaraguan firm.

News reports said that, since 2008, the Mexicans were moving throughout Central America in a convoy of stolen vehicles with satellite and equipment transmission, as well as Televisa logos, which facilitated their circulation.