HomeNewsBriefNicaragua Cattle Smuggled to Honduras
BRIEF

Nicaragua Cattle Smuggled to Honduras

CONTRABAND / 25 AUG 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Cattle-running groups have reportedly illegally transported 22,000 heads of cattle from eastern Nicaragua to Honduras in three months, highlighting the size of a trade that allegedly relies on corrupt officials and large landowners. 

According to police in Nicaragua's South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), intermediaries including Salvadorans and Mexicans, are sent to acquire the cattle legally from Nicaraguan ranchers in various RAAS towns, reported La Prensa. These foreigners offer a better price than local markets, said some farmers, who denied having prior knowledge of the buyers' intent to traffic the cattle.

For each head of cattle, the intermediaries receive a commission of around $115. They produce false sales documents and transfer authorization forms indicating the animals will be sent to a location within Nicaragua.

The place that appears in these documents -- according to sources linked to cattle ranchers -- is a ranch belonging to a well-known public sector employee in Somotillo, in the Chinandega province on the Honduran border. Other landowners may also be involved, La Prensa says. 

Once the cattle is brought across the country to Somotillo (see map from La Prensa), it is taken by other members of the network via illegal border crossings into Honduras.

cattlenicaragua

InSight Crime Analysis

While official collaboration is a common theme in the illegal cattle trade, the current case stands out because even the first stage in the process -- the acquisition of cattle -- is occurring with a facade of legality, rather than the cattle being "rustled," or stolen. Costa Rican newspaper Nacion indicated that in some cases this could be linked to an ongoing drought in Nicaragua. Some 300 Nicaraguan cattle are reportedly being smuggled into Costa Rica each week, with the trade spurred by resource-poor farmers' willingness to sell their cattle off cheaply.

The alleged involvement of Nicaraguan landowners and officials is perhaps inevitable, given the logistical difficulties of smuggling large animals. Traffickers are likely to need official collaboration to falsify documents, harbor the animals, and help "legalize" cross-border transport. 

SEE ALSO: Nicaragua News and Profiles

Cattle rustling is a phenomenon that stretches back many years in Latin America and appears to be growing in scale. Last year, Nicaraguan National Police Chief Aminta Granera said more than 100 groups dedicated to cattle theft had been dismantled in the first half of 2013.

The crime is often linked to small gangs, but can involve major transnational groups as well. It requires many of the same tools of the trade that drug trafficking does, including high-level business and government connections, transportation infrastructure, and large storage facilities. A major Honduran drug transport group -- the Cachiros -- got their start in the trade.

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.

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

COLECTIVOS / 25 NOV 2021

Under the view of international observers, elections in Venezuela this weekend showed low levels of interference by armed groups or…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 FEB 2022

With cries of corruption mounting against Guatemala’s president, the country’s Attorney General has taken minimal action and instead ramped up…

CARIBBEAN / 11 APR 2022

Kidnappings in Haiti have increased during the first three months of 2022, continuing a grim surge that began last year…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

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 …

THE ORGANIZATION

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

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…