miércoles, 17 de octubre de 2012

Nicaragua buys Russian armour to fight crime

Nicaragua bought "a small quantity" of armoured cars from Russia to fight drug cartels, its interior minister said in Managua on 16 October, EFE reported. Ana Isabel Morales Mazún told a press conference that the purchase was agreed on in a "recent" visit to Moscow by the Nicaraguan police chief, though she did not say how much Nicaragua was paying for this and related purchases. The vehicles were to be used by the three special police units that deal with organized crime or rioting, in cities and the countryside. Nicaragua also purchased vehicles to transport high-risk or violent detainees, as well as uniforms, technical equipment and training. Nicaragua and Russia signed an agreement to fight crime in February 2012 during a visit by the head of Russia's Federal Narcotics Service, Victor Ivanov. Bilateral ties have gained momentum since the return to power in 2007 of the socialist Daniel Ortega. Nicaragua was apparently using criminals' money to finance the fight against crime, though it was not immediately clear if such money paid for the purchases. Morales said her country would build "at least five prisons" with part of more than nine million USD confiscated from 18 Mexicans detained last summer and suspected of drug trafficking. The Mexicans were arrested on 20 August as they sought to enter Nicaragua from Honduras, initially identifying themselves as journalists and staff of the Mexican broadcaster Televisa. Televisa denied they were employees. Some 9.2 million USD as well as cocaine traces were found in their vehicles, painted with Televisa logos. The suspects were to be tried in Nicaragua on 3 December on drug-trafficking and money laundering charges, ACAN-EFE reported. Morales said Nicaragua would build one high-security prison with the money and upgrade a similar facility outside the capital. President Ortega was also reported to have said in September that part of the confiscated money would be spent on police equipment.