The biggest drug trial in Nicaragua’s history ended yesterday with stiff jail sentences handed down for all 23 members of the narco gang.
Gang leader Henry Fariñas, owner of the Elite strip club in Managua and a former Central American concert organizer, was sentenced to 30 years and fined $1 million for his role in laundering money and trafficking drugs. The ex-manager of Elite, Hugo Jaén Figueroa, was sentenced to 29 years in jail. The strip club, which was allegedly used to launder drug money, has since been closed.
Fariñas’ total sentence was 17 years for international drug trafficking, 9 years for organized crime and 7 years for money laundering. However, the 33-year sentence was lowered to 30 years, which is the maximum penalty under Nicaraguan law. Fariñas will be in jail until 2042.
The strip-club narco’s involvement in the drug world was discovered shortly after the July 9, 2011 murder of Argentine folksinger Facundo Cabral, who was shot by Guatemalan gunmen as he traveled in vehicle with Fariñas to the airport in Guatemala City. The intended target in that attack was Fariñas, who had allegedly double crossed Costa Rican kingpin Alejandro “El Palidejo” Jiménez, who is in jail in Guatemala.
Narco magistrate gets 23 years
Julio César Osuna, the former magistrate in Nicaragua’s sullied Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), was sentenced to 23 years in jail for using his office to issue false Nicaraguan IDs (cédulas) to foreign drug traffickers, including El Palidejo.
Osuna will be in the poky until 2035.
The two Colombian pilots arrested with Osuna during a police operation last May were sentenced to 27 and 25 years behind bars.
Other notable narco-gang members sentenced yesterday were former Managua businessman Guillermo Terán, who was sentenced to six years for organized crime, and Rivas merchant Carla María Jarquín, who was sentenced to 17 years for money laundering and organized crime.
The other 16 gang members each received sentenced of 6-30 years.