(posted June 27, 8:30 a.m.)- At least 19 alleged narco-traffickers were arrested, 11 homes raided, 14 vehicles confiscated, and a quarter of a million dollars seized by police in a coordinated crackdown in Bluefields, San Carlos, Rio San Juan and Managua. Six more suspects are still at large.
The police’s “Operation Dike” started on June 19, after authorities captured eight people smuggling 140 bricks of cocaine up the Río San Juan. After questioning the smugglers, police discovered the cocaine was payment for their role in moving a much larger shipment of 1,500 packages of cocaine from Costa Rica’s Puerto Limón to Honduras, using the indigenous community of Tasbaponi as their base in Nicaragua.
The Nicaraguan drug cell was operated by Bluefields native Ted Floyd Hayman Forbest, who, according to police, operated the logistics of providing pangas and fuel to narcos smuggling drugs from Panama to Honduras. Police also raided several homes in Managua belonging to Hayman and his alleged confederate Kurt Lurkton Downs, where they found $254,000 in cash. Hotel Hooters, in Managua, was also raided by police.
Ramón Avellán, deputy director general of the National Police, said the crackdown sends a clear message to narcos.
“We want to tell Nicaraguans and the population on the Caribbean coast that we are going to continue these operations; we are not going to allow organized crime or narco-traffickers to take over our country, to take over the Atlantic Coast. And in this sense we ask citizens for their collaboration because this is a shared responsibility,” Avellán said.