Witness Describes Chainsaw Killing During Fariñas Trial in Nicaragua

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A protected witness at the trial of alleged drug trafficker Henry Fariñas provided grisly details of how Fariñas’ organization would smuggle cocaine for Mexican groups like the Familia Michoacana, and ruthlessly dispose of drug mules suspected of stealing the cargo. 

The witness, a Nicaraguan anti-narcotics officer, testified in court that many Nicaraguan drug mules, used to smuggle small amounts of cocaine into Guatemala, ended up dead if they were blamed for stealing their illicit cargo.

As Confidencial repored, the anti-narcotics officer described one case involving a Nicaraguan who smuggled 50 kilograms into Guatemala on behalf of Fariñas’ organization. The cocaine shipment was ultimately intended to end up in the hands of the Familia Michoacana. But along the way, someone switched the drug mule’s shipment for 50 kilos of fake powder. The drug mule denied making the switch, but Fariñas gave the Guatemala-based smugglers permission to kill the drug mule with a chainsaw, the witness testified.

“The boss always blames the mule and [the mule] is the one who pays the consequences. Many Nicaraguans have died that way in Guatemala,” the witness stated.

The witness is among 84 people slated to testify during the trial of Fariñas and 23 other defendants accused of running a drug trafficking and money laundering network. Fariñas, a nightclub owner, is believed to have been the intended target of the assassination attempt that killed folk singer Facundo Cabral in July 2011.

One theory for the Facundo Cabral killing is that Fariñas had stolen a cocaine shipment from another accused drug trafficker, Alejandro Jimenez, alias “El Palidejo,” who then ordered the hit on Fariñas that accidentally killed Cabral instead.

InSight Crime Analysis

The trial, which began August 22, is only one of the multiple trials that are likely to shed light on the inner workings of Fariñas’ alleged drug trafficking network. A parallel trial in Guatemala will review the case of the four hitmen who mistakenly killed Cabral. Palidejo, currently imprisoned in Guatemala, is also likely to be tried there, although he is also wanted on charges in his native Costa Rica.

The Fariñas case will arguably be the most complicated to process out of the three due to the sheer amount of defendants involved and the number of witnesses slated to take the stand. The anti-narcotics officer’s testimony will probably prove to be the first of many accounts to paint a clearer picture of how the Central American drug trafficking network actually worked — and the brutal consequences sometimes involved.

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