HomeNicaraguaFrancisco Zeledon
NICARAGUA

Francisco Zeledon

FRANCISCO ZELEDON / LATEST UPDATE 2017-03-09 21:34:20 EN

Francisco, or Frank, Zeledon, allegedly runs a drug trafficking network from the city of Bluefields on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. He is best known in the region as a businessman, landowner and ship builder.

Anti-drug investigators told InSight Crime that Zeledon is believed to provide logistical support for a drug-running network run by Archibald Clayburn, a hotel owner on Corn Island about 50 miles off the coast from Bluefields. Clayburn reportedly receives cocaine shipments from Colombia’s San Andres Island, then hands them off to Zeledon.

Zeledon moves the drugs north along the Caribbean shoreline, using boats with secret compartments built into them. The boats are built in a shipyard run by Zeledon. He is reportedly paid for his services in cocaine, which he then sells to the local population.

History

Signs of Zeledon’s political influence became evident after he was arrested in May 2011 for causing a public disturbance, after he came to blows with a local pastor. Zeledon said that was provoked because the road was blocked by a religious procession, while the pastor later said that Zeledon beat him with his pistol butt and threatened to destroy his church. Zeledon was held for only 12 hours, and prisoners staged a riot in the jail where he was being held in what was interpreted as an expression of support for Zeledon.

Francisco Zeledon Factbox

DOB: December 11, 1950

Group: N/A

Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking, eco-trafficking

Status: No criminal charges

Area of Operation: Bluefields (Nicaragua)

Two weeks after Zeledon's arrest, the Bluefields police chief was transferred back to Managua. Zeledon criticized the police chief, who only served in Bluefields for a short period of time, stating, “Since he came here he's said I am a cocaine trafficker, even though he has no way to prove it.”

Criminal Activities

Zeledon allegedly runs a drug trafficking network, although he has not been charged with drug trafficking. Zeledon has also been accused of involvement in eco-trafficking, shipping wood that was illegally cut down in Nicaragua's forest reserves.

Geography

Zeledon lives in Bluefields, a port city on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast nearly inaccessible by road.

Allies and Enemies

Zeledon is believed to have sponsored local political candidates for office, buying him some measure of protection from prosecution.

Prospects

Despite his long history of run-ins with police, Zeledon has proved resilient to prosecution. When another rich drug trafficker named Ted Hayman was taken down in a series of arrests 2012, Zeledon notably escaped any scrutiny.

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

INFOGRAPHICS / 19 JUL 2012

The Nicaraguan city of Bluefields is a place where the narco-transporters rule, and cocaine floats off the coast and into…

CARIBBEAN / 27 NOV 2013

Nicaragua has authorized the militaries of the United States and Russia to undertake drug interdiction in Caribbean waters successfully claimed…

COLOMBIA / 14 JUL 2011

Southern Pulse examines those areas of Latin America where there is no state presence, and transnational criminal organizations are able…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…