(posted March 12, 6:30 a.m.)- In what may a harbinger of what’s to come in Nicaragua’s drug war, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service reported in Moscow yesterday that joint Russian and Nicaraguan anti-drug efforts have busted a Central American drug gang connected to the Zetas cartel in Mexico.
Russian media outlet RIA Novosti reports that drug czar Victor Ivanov has informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia’s logistical support for Nicaragua’s drug-war effort helped net 40 people and 1.2 tons of cocaine last week. Nicaraguan Police said the operation included raids in Managua, Rivas, Masaya, Matagalpa and Chinandega.
In February 2012, Russia and Nicaragua signed a joint drug-war agreement that includes a Russian-funded anti-narcotics training center to be built in Nicaragua. Last October, Russia promised Nicaragua equipment and weapons aid the war on drugs, including a fleet of Russian-made “Tiger” urban-assault vehicles.
Nicaragua has dramatically increased its military aid from Russia over the past few years. A source tells The Nicaragua Dispatch that in 2011 Russia provided Nicaragua with $26.5 million in military aid, compared to about $3 million from the U.S. military.