Authorities in Honduras have reportedly seized millions of dollars worth of property linked to the Cachiros drug trafficking network, in the latest blow to the debilitated criminal structure.
Law enforcement carried out nearly a dozen raids, seizing 131 properties and 11 businesses, the Honduran Attorney General’s Office announced in a September 25 press release. According to La Tribuna, the total value of the seized assets surpassed 100 million lempiras ($4.2 million).
In addition, the Attorney General’s Office identified several individuals tied to suspicious business and real estate transactions with Marlene Isabel Cruz Quintanilla, the wife of Cachiros leader Javier Rivera Maradiaga, who is currently jailed in the United States.
One of these figures was Jessica María Paz Castellanos, who reportedly grew close with Rivera Maradiaga and his wife after meeting them in 2012.
La Prensa described Paz Castellanos as the “brain” of the Cachiros’ finanacial operations. She is suspected of creating a number of front companies to help launder the group’s drug earnings.
The Attorney General’s Office also said that investigations had uncovered suspicious transactions linked to businessman Juan Ángel Maradiaga López and current congressional representative Midence Oquely Martínez, who is running for re-election in the Cachiros’ former stronghold of the department of Colón.
InSight Crime Analysis
The latest asset seizures represent only a drop in the bucket of the more than $800 million in property that Honduran authorities claim to have seized in recent years from the Cachiros, which became essentially defunct as a criminal organization after its leaders — brothers Javier and Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga — turned themselves over to US authorities in 2015.
SEE ALSO: Cachiros News and Profiles
However, the confiscations are a sign that investigations into the Cachiros’ network are continuing, and the naming of prominent business and political figures could be a sign that criminal charges could be brought against new suspects in the future. Indeed, testimony provided by Javier Rivera Maradiaga in connection with his pleading guilty to US drug charges has implicated a number of Honduran elites in colluding with the criminal organization he ran.