Friday, March 10, 2017

Devis Rivera Maradiaga Testimony part 1

Now that El Heraldo has published a transcript of Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga's testimony at the sentencing trial for Fabio Lobo in New York, we are getting more information about the Lobo family involvement, and that of the current Security Minister, Julian Pacheco Tinoco.  As the testimony is long and detailed we'll break our summary of it into several posts.  This is post 1 of 3.
  1. Q. Generally, how did you and the Cachiros obtain assistance
  2. from Honduran politicians?
  3. A. By paying them.
Devis Rivera Maradiaga told the court that he was involved in the drug trade from 2003 to 2013, and that los Cachiros was headed by his brother, Javier, and himself.  They started out as Transportation cartel, moving small quantities of drugs in cars.  They received the drugs both via coastal boats and via airplanes.  In the period 2009 - 2013 they moved more than 20 tons of cocaine from Olancho to Copan, where they gave it to the Valle Valle cartel.  They relied on Honduran law enforcement for protection and for paid assassinations.  They relied on the Honduran military for information about police operations, radar clearance, and for security.

Devis Rivera Maradiaga is from Tocoa, Colon.  He states he was aided by a Congress person, Oscar Najera, and Juan Gomez, Adam Funes (Mayor of Tocoa) , and Hidence Oqueli.
  1. Q. Are you familiar with a man named Porfirio Lobo Sosa, who uses the nickname Pepe?
  2. A. Yes.
  1. Q. Did you and the Cachiros receive assistance from Pepe Lobo
  2. and the defendant during that time frame?
    A. Yes.

  3. Q. What did you do to get that assistance?
  4. A. We paid them.
  5. Q. More than once?
  6. A. Yes.
Devis Rivera told the court that he met with Pepe Lobo, an ex-President of Honduras, for the first time when Pepe Lobo was running for President in 2009. At that time his brother Javier paid Lobo Sosa $250,000 - $300,000 as a bribe.  The money came from Javier's drug operation.  Devis was not present when the money was paid, and only knows about it.  Javier told him the first bribe was sent to Lobo Sosa using Javier's father, Isidro Rivera,  Lobo Sosa's brother, Moncho Lobo, and Juan Gomez.

An additional bribe was paid to Lobo Sosa in 2009.  Javier asked Devis to go to Tegucigalpa and join him and Juan Gomez in a hotel room.  Juan Gomez was advising Javier and Devis what to say to Pepe Lobo about what they wanted from him.  They then left the hotel, near Congress, and traveled to Lobo Sosa's house, El Chimbo,  in Tegucigalpa,   Javier asked Lobo Sosa about the first bribe, and Lobo Sosa thanked him for their support.  Javier asked for help with Oscar Alvarez, who in 2009 was investigating los Cachiros.  Javier also asked for protection for the organization, and protection from extradition to the United States.  They also talked about the shell companies Lobo Sosa suggested they set up to receive government contracts as a way of paying them back for the first bribe.  At the end of the meeting Juan Gomez handed Lobo Sosa a stack of 500 lempira bills about 10-12 inches tall, telling Lobo Sosa it was from all of them.  When they returned to their hotel, they received delivery of a suitcase with $200,000 - $250,000 in cash in it.  The money was, Devis understood, from another drug trafficker who lent Javier the money.  Javier gave the suitcase to Juan Gomez, who in turn, gave it to Lobo Sosa's security detail.

Finally they got down to Fabio Lobo's involvement.  Jorge Lobo, Fabio's cousin, introduced them to Fabio.  Jorge told him that Fabio was looking for people to award government contracts to since his dad had just won the election.

  1. Q. Were you interested in government contracts at that point?
  2. A. Yes.
  3. Q. Why?
  4. A. For money laundering.
About a week after the conversation with Jorge Lobo, Devis and Javier met with Jorge and Fabio Lobo in Trujillo. Fabio explained that he was going to get government contracts awarded to them for a bribe of about 10-20% of each contracts value, which would be paid, in part, to the various heads of the government agencies that awarded those contracts.

Devis then talks about a third meeting with Pepe Lobo in Tegucigalpa.  Juan Gomez arranged the meeting.  Devis met Juan Gomez at the Plaza San Martin hotel, and found that Oscar Najera, a Congress person from Colon was there.  In the ensuing conversation, Devis said he was made to understand that Najera was there to join them in their meeting with Pepe Lobo because Najera wanted a government job in the new administration.

The same day they went to Pepe Lobo's Tegucigalpa house and met with him.  Fabio Lobo was there as well.  They talked of government contracts and how Pepe would not extradite anyone during his term as President.  Devis said that Lobo Sosa told them not to worry about protection, that if they needed anything to talk to Juan Gomez, who would in turn notify Fabio Lobo, who would then talk to then General Julian Pacheco Tinoco who was head of the military intelligence unit.  During the meeting Fabio called General Pacheco to tell him to expect a visit from him later in the day.  The meeting closed with a discussion of the company Devis and Javier would set up to get government contracts:  INRIMAR.

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