The Televisa caravan used by the cash smugglers

A group of Mexicans who are on trial in Nicaragua, accused of posing as Televisa journalists while smuggling millions of dollars in cash, may have in fact made several phone calls to the media company, according to a report from Confidencial.

Nicaraguan investigative news website Confidencial reviewed a list of contacts and phone calls on a cell phone owned by a woman identified as the leader of the group. The cell phone had been used to call the number of one contact listed as “Televisa offices,” and another contact with the name of Televisa’s vice president, Amador Narcia. Both numbers have been disconnected.

In total the 18 Mexicans had five cell phones which they used to make 30 calls between August 20, when they were detained at the Honduras-Nicaragua border, and August 24. They were taken into custody after authorities found $9.2 million in cash in one of their vans, as well as traces of cocaine.

One cell phone was used to call the Mexican consulate after the alleged smugglers were detained. The consul told Confidencial that the Mexicans had called the consulate’s public number, and described themselves as Televisa journalists who had been detained.

The trial of the Mexicans starts November 9 in Managua. They are charged with money laundering and drug trafficking.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Confidencial report raises questions about whether there was some kind of relationship between the alleged smugglers and the Mexican media company, which has denied all ties to the group. At the very least, the evidence suggests that the smugglers went to great lengths to present themselves as legitimate Televisa employees. A folder previously discovered in the smugglers’ van contained several papers signed in the name of Amador Nacia, who has said that the signatures were faked.

The detainees are accused of making hundreds of trips between Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica since 2010. As Confidencial reported, there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the case which may be addressed during the public trial. It is still unclear just how much money and drugs the crew allegedly managed to smuggle through Nicaragua before they were arrested. Nor is it clear whether they had accomplices in Nicaragua, or whether they were working for an organized criminal group in Mexico.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...