HomeNewsBriefCapture of Nicaragua Cocaine Thief Spotlights Pacific Drug Transit
BRIEF

Capture of Nicaragua Cocaine Thief Spotlights Pacific Drug Transit

NICARAGUA / 12 MAR 2014 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

Police in Nicaragua have arrested a man accused of running several of the drug theft gangs known as "tumbadores," which are one of the principal components of organized crime in the country and across Central America.

The flaxen-haired Franklin Heriberto Torres Bejarano, alias "La Pajara," allegedly headed six groups of tumbadores, totaling 45 members, which robbed cocaine from other traffickers. He was captured in Granada -- a tourist town on Lake Nicaragua -- where he was renting a home for $1,000 a month, reported El Nuevo Diario.

Torres and his tumbadores operated mostly along a thin belt of land between the Pacific coastline and Lake Nicaragua, which serves as a major overland transit point for the shipment of drugs. He has been charged with drug smuggling and money laundering, and police have accused him of robbing at least three shipments of cocaine, including a 200 kilo haul in November 2012.

Torres had been leading the tumbadores since around 2004, and his thievery apparently did not sit well with certain cartel leaders. In 2008 his name was discovered on a hitlist carried by Mexican and Honduran assassins captured by police, reported El Nuevo Diario.

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact Torres was able to evade both killers and police for so many years indicates he was likely being protected in some way. Tumbadores often work closely with or are even led by corrupt authorities, allowing them to ply a trade that would otherwise lead to a rapid death. They often work as free agents, moving drugs for cartels but also robbing shipments as a means of recouping unpaid debts or hitting rivals, and then splitting the profits with the police who tip them off.

SEE ALSO: Nicaragua News and Profiles

While Nicaragua's Caribbean coast has attracted more attention in recent years for its growth of crime and violence, the Pacific region where Torres operated also experiences high levels of drug trafficking and "tumbes."

Torres' home province of Rivas touches the official Peñas Blancas border crossing with Costa Rica and there are a number of nearby blind spots where traffickers can cross over. In contrast with the Caribbean side, where drug shipments are moved by sea and Nicaragua is predominently a stop off and resupply point, the primary transit routes on the Pacific side go overland, leaving them vulnerable to the groups run by Torres and others like him.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

NICARAGUA / 9 MAR 2012

Nicaragua’s popular police chief has warned that gangs from its crime-ridden neighbors in the “Northern Triangle” could move south, but…

NICARAGUA / 4 SEP 2017

Authorities in Nicaragua are trumpeting their counternarcotics efforts, which they say have kept "cartels" out of the country. But a…

COSTA RICA / 29 APR 2020

Costa Rica has enhanced border security during the coronavirus pandemic to crack down on human smuggling from Nicaragua, but its…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…