(posted March 12, 7:20 pm) — The credibility of Nicaragua’s embattled judicial system is again being called into question this week after a judge’s dubious ruling to drop drug smuggling charges against the brother of boxing champ and Sandinista-campaigner Román “Chocolatito” González.
A Sandinista judge this week absolved Milton González of drug trafficking charges after crime lab tests showed the mysterious white powder he was arrested with on Feb. 25 was baby powder, and not cocaine, as initial police tests indicated. González was arrested in Managua wearing a backpack containing bullets, a weighing scale and 1,569 grams of…baby powder.
At the time of his arrest, police conducted a field test on the powder and determined it was in fact cocaine. However, three subsequent tests conducted in Managua’s state-of-the-art crime lab revealed the powder was talcum.
Rights activists claim the whole scandal makes Nicaragua’s judicial system look ridiculous and corrupt.
“This is an eloquent demonstration of the lack of judicial independence,” Gonzalo Carrión, legal director of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, told La Prensa.