The head of Nicaragua’s Navy has warned that organized criminal organizations are increasingly trying to penetrate the country’s armed forces.
In an interview with El Nuevo Diario, Rear Admiral Roger Gonzalez, head of the Nicaraguan Navy, said that drug traffickers are trying to corrupt the country’s institutions. He said that foreign criminal groups are moving into Nicaragua in order to set up logistical support bases to run their illegitimate businesses in his country.
According to the admiral, last year there were at least three cases in which soldiers had “friendly relations” with people linked to drug trafficking, but these cases have been dealt with.
El Nuevo Diario reported that one soldier said he had been offered $500,000 to release a group of Honduran and Nicaraguan traffickers that he caught after a boat chase.
The admiral also said that while the country did suffer from violence caused by rivalry between drug gangs, it did was not home to established groups of hired killers. According to Gonzalez, most hitmen in Nicaragua are thought to come from foreign countries, including Honduras, Colombia and Mexico.
Nicaragua is a major transshipment point for cocaine trafficked from South America up to Mexico and the U.S. However, as InSight Crime has reported, the Nicaraguan Navy has been praised by the U.S. for its effectiveness in drug interdictions.