In an unexpected Sunday raid on 35 businesses in the northern department of Estelí, Nicaraguan anti-narcotics officers arrested 12 individuals thought to be involved in drug trafficking, including the president of Estelí’s Chamber of Commerce, according to local media reports.
The raid, which started at 4:30 a.m. and reportedly lasted all day, converting whole sections of the city into a yellow-tape crime scene, was on businesses as diverse as distributors of household appliances, discos, restaurants, farms and hardware stores, according to Sandinista media outlets, the only government source to offer any information on the police operation.
The raids, which were reportedly done without warrants or any judges’ orders, startled the community of Estelí. “The city of Estelí was full of black uniformed SWAT Team police members,” a Nicaragua Dispatch reader who witnessed the operation reports. “Teams were swooping down on some 17 businesses suspected of dealing drugs.”
In addition to the arrests, 12 trucks and seven motorcycles were confiscated by police.
Roberto Moncada, president of Estelí’s Chamber of Commerce, told local reporters he doesn’t know why he was swept up in the raids.
The Nicaragua Dispatch was unable to get in touch with the president of the Superior Private Business Chamber (COSEP) for comment on Moncada’s arrest or the raid against the businesses in Estelí.
Police have not yet offered any details about Sunday’s operation.