Nicaragua Deport 18 ‘Fake Journalists’ To Mexico In Drug Money Laundering Case

Raquel Alatorre Correa.
Correa, part of a group of 18 people accused of being involved in criminal organisations and money laundering, sits during their court appearance in Managua August 25, 2012. Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that 18 Mexicans who were sentenced to 18 years in jail last January by a Nicaraguan judge after posing as journalists while trying to smuggle some $9.2 million in drug money through the country have been sent back to Mexico to serve out their sentences, along with 22 other fellow Mexicans convicted of other crimes in Nicaragua.  The “fake journalists” were arrested in 2012 for money laundering and other drug-related crimes after police in the Central American country discovered the bundles of cash hidden in vehicles designed to resemble TV news vans.

Univision reported in August that the fake journalists had told officers they were with the Mexican television news network Televisa, and presented fake press credentials when trying to enter into Nicaragua from Honduras.  They also wore vests emblazoned with the Televisa insignia.  But when police ran a check on their IDs, they found them to be false, and discovered the bundles of money after carrying out a search of the vehicle.  The Mexican office of the attorney general told the AP that the group of inmates arrived in Mexico on Monday and had been shipped off to federal prisons in the states of Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Nayarit.

La Jornada del Oriente writes that the leader of the fake journalists, Raquel Alatorre Correa – who was transported to a Nayarit prison separate from the rest of the group, and under heavy guard – will share a cell in prison with the Queen of the Pacific, Sandra Ávila Beltrán.  Ávila Beltrán was deported from the United States in late August after a Miami judge sentenced her to 70 months in jail – to be served in Mexico – for having aided her Colombian boyfriend evade apprehension from authorities.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.