HomeNewsBriefCachiros Money Laundering Cells Still Operate in Honduras

Authorities in Honduras have revealed in recent months million-dollar money laundering operations connected to the Cachiros, indicating that vestiges of the drug clan continue to operate in the country despite the group's demise. 

On January 19, the nation's judiciary announced it had sentenced Celi Asmery Paso Galo,  an associate of the Cachiros drug trafficking clan, to ten years in prison for his involvement in money laundering.

Between 2010 and 2015, Paso Galo conducted a series of financial transactions, including property transfers, on behalf of the clan's leaders, Javier Eriberto Rivera Maradiaga, alias “Javier Cachiro,” and his brother Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga. According to judicial officials, Paso Galo was unable to justify the origin of 10 million lempiras (around $415,000).

SEE ALSO: Cachiros News and Profile

Three other associates of the Cachiros were convicted alongside Paso Galo. Nixón Yadir Manzanares Murillo was sentenced to eight years in prison for money laundering. Dina Herenia Fúnez Lisser and Marla Ramona Nájera Rubí received five-year sentences for acting as frontmen.

The sentences came a month after the Attorney General’s Office reported authorities had carried out a series of raids across four departments -- Copán, Lempira, Cortés and Yoro -- targeting a money-laundering network linked to the Cachiros.

Between 2008 and 2018, the pair allegedly laundered money through front companies known as "Zapaton," as well as through the purchase of luxury properties and other goods, according to an Attorney General's Office news release.

The head of Honduras’ Anti-Narcotics Directorate (Dirección Nacional Policial Antidrogas — DNPA), Mario Molina Moncada, linked "Zapaton" to Los Cachiros and deceased drug trafficker Gustavo Chinchilla, La Prensa reported.

During the operation, authorities seized some 50 assets, including luxury homes and vehicles. For two years, investigators followed a suspicious trail of 200 million lempiras (just over $8.2 million).

InSight Crime Analysis

Though the brothers who headed the Cachiros drug clan are jailed in the United States, actors tied to the group are still present in money laundering and drug operations, albeit on a much smaller scale. 

The cells effectively are the last vestiges of the Cachiros name after the group's demise.

Starting as a family of small-time cattle rustlers, the Cachiros became one of Honduras’ largest transport groups, with a net worth close to $1 billion. They supplied cocaine and other drugs to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and had ties to the Colombian criminal organization the Rastrojos.

SEE ALSO: Wild West of Honduras: Home to Narcos and Their Politicians

Buying cocaine from Colombian organizations, the Cachiros controlled lucrative trafficking routes, using powerful connections in the military, police and politics to their advantage — particularly in their former stronghold of Colón.

From around 2013, US authorities began to pursue the group. As InSight Crime previously reported, members of the organization turned themselves in between 2013 and 2015, leading to the cartel's decline.

Despite this, arrests of Cachiros associates involved in money laundering, which is more difficult to detect and target than the transnational cocaine trafficking the Cachiros previously oversaw, continue to occur.

In April of last year, five associates were found guilty of having laundered more than 700 million lempiras (just short of $29 million) for the group. They had been creating shell companies, which received money for no economic or legal justification.

In 2017, InSight Crime reported how authorities in Honduras had seized millions of dollars worth of property linked to the debilitated criminal structure, identifying several individuals tied to suspicious business and real estate transactions with Marlene Isabel Cruz Quintanilla, the wife of Javier Rivera Maradiaga.

At their peak, the Cachiros commanded territory stretching east to Gracias a Dios, south to Olancho and west to the region’s criminal hub, the city of San Pedro Sula.

Last month's intervention saw authorities carry out operations in the western departments of Copán, Cortés and Lempira. As InSight Crime reported in 2019, western Honduras is a region that has traditionally been associated with clandestine routes for all types of contraband, including drugs.

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.


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.

Was this content helpful?

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


Related Content


Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro's aggressive reaction to the extradition of accused money launderer and ally Álex Saab – who appeared…


Venezuela is increasingly turning to the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, raising questions about its possible use in laundering money and evading US…

COCAINE / 18 MAY 2022

The jungle region known as La Mosquitia in northeast Honduras has been an ideal corridor for international drug trafficking. However,…

About InSight Crime


Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.


InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.


Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …


InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…


Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…