The intended target of last year’s attack that killed legendary Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral, Nicaraguan Henry Fariñas, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Nicaraguan judge Adela Cardoza handed down the sentence on October 12 and ordered Fariñas to pay a $6.8 million fine, reported EFE.
Fariñas was convicted on September 27 along with 22 others, including former electoral council judge Julio Cesar Osuna. Osuna received a 23 year sentence having been found guilty of fabricating Nicaraguan IDs. One of these was for Fariñas’ former business partner, Alejandro Jimenez, alias “El Palidejo,” who is awaiting trial in Guatemala for ordering the hit that killed Cabral.
Cardoza identified Fariñas, a nightclub owner by trade, as the head of the drug trafficking ring, saying that it had been working under the command of El Palidejo, reported Confidencial. The group shipped cocaine through Central America for Mexican groups such as the Familia Michoacana.
The prosecution had been seeking a 40 year sentence for Fariñas. However, under Nicaraguan law, only a 30 year maximum is allowed.
InSight Crime Analysis
Cardoza underscored the success of the case against Fariñas, stating that it was a reflection of Nicaragua’s “zero tolerance policy” toward transnational crime. The failure to explore allegations that Fariñas had ties to corrupt police, however, raises concerns about whether these will ever be investigated. Cardoza, for her part, denied that she had defended the police in any way.
An InSight Crime investigation discovered that Fariñas may have had ties to high-ranking police officers who helped him ship cocaine through the country. Fariñas himself drew attention to the issue during the trial, stating that El Palidejo had paid off Nicaraguan officers to avoid arrest after they raided his house earlier this year.
This highly complex case, which involved testimony from some 80 people against 24 defendants, is undoubtedly an achievement for Nicaragua’s judicial system. While Fariñas has been condemned, though, many questions still remain over the role of Nicaraguan police in facilitating transnational criminal networks.