In a sign of the Zetas’ continued expansion into Central America, three Nicaraguans have been accused of working to recruit members of the country’s security forces into the Mexican criminal organization.
As Nicaragua’s La Prensa reports, police in the northern department of Madriz arrested three Nicaraguans for alleged links to the Zetas, charging them with collusion with organized crime. According to local press, the men had been tasked with identifying individuals with military experience, and offering them monthly salaries of $2,000 if they joined up.
Authorities have also identified another individual, Noe Muñoz Davila, alias “El Negro,” as the main funder of the recruitment scheme. Although his current whereabouts are unknown, he allegedly offered the others $4,000 for every recruit they found.
While many Mexican drug cartels have been setting up shop in Central America in recent years, the most visible has been the Zetas. In recent months, the group has been implicated in a gruesome mass murder in Guatemala, and are also suspected to have made contacts among El Salvador's street gangs.
That the group is seeking recruits in Nicaragua is especially worrisome for security in the country. As InSIght Crime has reported, Nicaragua has so far largely avoided the surge in crime that has hit other countries in the region.