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Nicaragua police seize $1M, arrest 2 in weekend operation


Police seized more than $1 million in suspected drug money and arrested two people in a weekend operation in northern Nicaragua, authorities announced Monday.

Police Commissioner Victoriano Ruiz told journalists in the capital, Managua, that Saturday’s operation, involving the largest cash bust so far this year in the country, took place in the city of Ocotal, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the border from Honduras.

The Nicaraguan suspects were detained while traveling in a sedan carrying 51 bundles of tape-wrapped cash hidden in the doors of the vehicle and totaling some $1.04 million, Ruiz said.

Both the money and the suspects tested positive for traces of cocaine, he said.

The two people were handed over to prosecutors pending charges of organized crime and money laundering.

Nicaragua and other Central American nations are transit countries for drugs moving from South America toward the primary consumption markets in the United States and Europe.

Authorities attributed the raid to a new "contention wall” counter-narcotics strategy on the part of the police and army.