Sep 19, 2012

Nicaragua to try 18 fake Mexican journalists

By The Associated Press, Sept. 18, 2012

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Eighteen Mexican citizens must stand trial on charges they tried to smuggle about $9.2 million in cash through Nicaragua by posing as members of a Mexican television news crew, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge Julio Cesar Arias said there is sufficient evidence to hold the 18 over for the trial, which will open Dec. 3.

The defendants entered Nicaragua travelling in six vans painted with the logo of Mexico's Televisa network. Televisa said it has no connection to the suspects.

They were detained in August just inside Nicaragua's northern border with Honduras. They were allegedly headed to Costa Rica.

Investigators say the money was apparently intended to pay for a drug shipment. Traces of cocaine were found on some of the bills hidden in the vans, officials say.

Rafael Magnalli, one of the lawyers for the defendants, argued the prosecutors' case is "subjective and speculative" and asked that the charges be dismissed. Read more. 

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