(posted Dec. 10, 4:30 p.m.)- The drug trial of the 18 phony journalists arrested while posing as Televisa reporters started today in Managua under heavy security and the expectation of a verdict by the end of the week.
The fake journalists were caught entering Nicaragua on Aug. 20 aboard six vans painted with the Mexican TV channel’s media logo and expensive satellite broadcasting equipment. They were also smuggling $9.2 million in cash, allegedly to make payment for a drug shipment. Televisa has disavowed the fake journalists.
The 18 suspects are being accused of drug trafficking, organized crime and money laundering. Nicaraguan government prosecutors will call 17 witnesses to the stand in the coming days, according to government media outlets.
Months before the trial even started, President Daniel Ortega announced his plans to spend the confiscated $9.2 million to remodel and rebuild Nicaragua’s dilapidated prison system.