The eighteen Mexican nationals arrested by Nicaraguan border agents at the Honduran frontier, after $9,255,631 was found hidden in their bogus Televisa vans, and charged with money laundering and other crimes, appear to have been operating a well-managed smuggling pipeline, according to a report by Nicaraguan prosecutors.
The attention to detail looks more like an intelligence agency operation, rather than a team of bulk cash smuggling couriers:
(1) The participants wore what appeared to be authentic Televisa clothing, all with company logos, valid vehicle registrations, and even what appeared to be internal company documents. They carried cameras, computers and even satellite uplink equipment.
|The couriers, in custody, in front of their vans
(2) The operators had an imposing crew chief, complete with expensive jewelry, and armed with a cover story; law enforcement eventually saw that the team had inconsistent stories. An informant had warned Nicaraguan authorities the crew was en route, but no further details have been released.
(3) The operation had been seen traveling into Nicaragua for at least two years. The "crew" had stayed at a hotel in Managua at least five times, always paying in cash, and leaving large tips for the hotel staff.
(4) There was a file in one of the vans bearing the name of the Televisa vice president for news.
|Their bogus equipment
The authorities found cocaine residue in some of the vans, meaning that they had also been used to transport narcotics. The Mexicans arrested are believed to be affiliated with Los Zetas.
Experienced money launderers supervising bulk cash smuggling rings often create what appear to be legitimate occupations for their couriers, complete with counterfeit identities, in a business or industry that would be involved in transport; remember that the next time a delivery service comes into the bank.
|Televisa's letter, denying any involvement