A Nicaraguan drug transport gang, the Reñazco family is believed to move cocaine shipments along Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast and provide other services to international trafficking groups, such as refueling the go-fast boats that move drug shipments northwards.

Reñazcos Factbox




Total membership unknown


Miguel Angel Reñazco Padilla

Criminal Activities

Drug trafficking

Nicaragua Factbox


Criminal Activities
Drug transit, human trafficking

Principal Criminal Groups
Reñazcos, Tarzanes


The Reñazcos first came into the public eye when the group was linked to a massacre of four police officers in Bluefields in May 2004. The family was accused of hiring six assassins, including a Colombian and several former police officers, to kill law enforcement agents Juan Jose Funez, Ruth Gonzalez, Roger Ernesto Villachica and Johnny Dometz. The slain police were mostly likely seen as hindering drug shipments along the Caribbean coast. The Reñazcos have denied these accusations.


The head of the family is Miguel Angel Reñazco Padilla, imprisoned on drug trafficking charges until June 2, 2004, when he was apparently released for good behavior.

Authorities in Costa Rica arrested him in the province of Limon in July 2013, for allegedly participating in the police massacre, and extradited him to Nicaragua in April 2014. In June, Reñazco was found guilty for the murders in Nicaragua.

Other members of the family include Marcos Reñazco Padilla, José Ángel Padilla and Carlos Alberto Padilla Reñazco, who were captured in 2005 for smuggling drugs along the Rio San Juan, and who were wanted on charges of plotting the police massacre in Bluefields. In 2008, the three detainees were absolved and set free.


Based primarily in Nicaragua's South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), the Reñazco family is active in the department’s capital, Bluefields, as well as San Juan del Norte in the Rio San Juan department.

Allies and enemies

As a drug transport gang, the Reñazcos move drugs through Nicaragua primarily to sell to Mexican organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas.


The capture of Miguel Reñazco could represent a significant blow to the organization, but since the family manages to stay out of the local press, little is known about whether his arrest has impacted their operations.