independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Nicaragua sends home 18 fake journalists who tried to smuggle $9.2m

Mexican citizen Raquel Alatorre Correa (C) is escorted by police officers at the airport in Managua. Alatorre is one of 18 people convicted on drug-trafficking charges after posing as television journalists while entering Nicaragua with $9.2 million
Mexican citizen Raquel Alatorre Correa (C) is escorted by police officers at the airport in Managua. Alatorre is one of 18 people convicted on drug-trafficking charges after posing as television journalists while entering Nicaragua with $9.2 million

Eighteen Mexicans caught in Nicaragua posing as journalists in an attempt to smuggle $9.2m (€6.7m) in drug money have been sent back to their home country.

The 18, and three other Mexicans convicted of similar crimes in Nicaragua, will serve 17 and 18-year sentences for money laundering and other convictions.

The two nations have an agreement allowing prisoners to serve prison sentences in their own countries.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office said the inmates arrived yesterday and were sent to prisons in the states of Jalisco, Tamaulipas and Nayarit.

The 18 Mexicans convicted in the fake journalist scheme were arrested last year when Nicaraguan officers found bundles of cash hidden in fake TV news vehicles.

Last January, a Nicaraguan judge sentenced them to 30 years, but those sentences were reduced to 18 years on appeal.

The circumstances in which the other three Mexicans were arrested were not immediately explained, but Central America has become an active trafficking route for Mexican cartels.

Nicaraguan police chief Ramon Avellan said the transfers will free up prison space in Nicaragua.

AP

Press Association

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