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The Sinaloa Cartel’s Costa Rican Sacrificial Lamb

Costa Rica News – If you cannot trust a Mexican drug cartel who can you trust?  It seems that is you are caught doing illegal activities that can be potentially tied back to the cartel you are on your own.  I actually find it funny that one of the Sinaloa cartel’s pawns thought that they would make sure he was taken care of after he was busted.

Benavides-JORGE-NAVARRO-sinaloa cartelA contact of the Sinaloa cartel, Luis Enrique Barrantes Benavides, was convicted for money laundering last year, on February 12th. This happened after a helicopter containing 396 kilos of cocaine crashed in Cerro de la Muerte. The helicopter belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel, who were trying to establish their name in Costa Rica.

The court, the Tribunal de Juicio de Cartago, found Barrantes guilty, with a lot of evidence that was gathered from wiretaps. It appears that the cartel abandoned him. Although he had cars and properties he was left stranded due to the fact he had no money and the cartel seemed to have cut off communication with him.

The court was shown that the defendant managed assets and investments from the criminal organization. He had no power to dispose of them, though they were in his name. He was financially dependant on the group. Barrantes was originally tied to the organization when the Drug Control Police stopped him in Guapiles, in 2009.

The investigation into the Sinaloa cartel in Costa Rica began when it was discovered that the Pochotel in Turrialba was used to smuggle drugs. Barrantes’ part in the drug trafficking operation was to deposit the funds from the leaders into the national financial system. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering. His public defender, Nazyra Merayo, will challenge the ruling.

The Sinaloa Cartel is a Mexican drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime syndicate based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa with operations in the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, Sonora and Chihuahua. They have begun to expand their reach throughout Central and outh America.


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