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

ELITES AND CRIME / 7 APR 2021

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

CHINA AND CRIME / 11 OCT 2021

Contraband Chinese cigarettes are pouring into Latin America, infiltrating old smuggling routes and threatening longstanding criminal empires.

BARRIO 18 / 28 MAR 2022

A killing spree unlike anything seen since El Salvador’s civil war has delivered a macabre message from the country’s street…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…