The detainees were traveling in six vans with fake decals of Televisa, the Mexican television conglomerate. They were busted Monday trying to enter Nicaragua at Las Manos, a border crossing.
Nicaraguan police grew suspicious. The detainees had vests with Televisa logos, and said they were going to Nicaragua to cover a trial related to the 2011 slaying of Argentine singer Facundo Cabrales.
Today, Nicaraguan Police Chief Aminta Granera (read my profile of her here) announced that police had found compartments in the vans containing roughly $7 million. All the detainees are now in custody in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital.
So who are these guys? Why did they have such a sophisticated cover and so much money? One of the detainees is reportedly named Cecilio López Gutiérrez and is a muncipal police officer from Durango state in Mexico.
One can only surmise without proof. But don’t be surprised if it turns out that the group was part of a cartel squad sent to strong-arm judges, prosecutors, witnesses and others related to the case.
This is a snapshot of the state of Central America. It’s also bad news for real journalists when the cartel gets into the impersonation business of reporters.
Honduran press reports say customs and immigration agents there have been removed for letting the Mexican convoy through.
Just who these guys might be working for gets complicated. The trial in Managua is for Henry Fariña, an impresario who was with the Argentine folksinger when he was gunned down in Guatemala. Some believe Fariña was the real target of the attack and that the Argentine was killed by accident. Prosecutors believe Fariña is linked to a Costa Rica-based gang that is moving drugs for La Familia Michoacana, a powerful Mexican drug group. Apparently that gang is in a battle with another group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. So behind the fake journalists may be some really sinister goings-on.
The only good news is that Nicaragua was attentive enough to halt further mayhem