Saturday, March 11, 2017

Devis Rivera Maradiaga Testimony part 2

We are reading and summarizing the high points from the nearly 3 hours of testimony that Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga gave in the sentencing hearing of Fabio Lobo in Federal Court in New York.  Our source is the trial transcript published by El Heraldo. This is part 2 of 3.

A few months after the meeting with Pepe Lobo, Devis met with Fabio Lobo in an office in Tegucigalpa.  Fabio gave them a set of contracts to review, and they paid him the bribe due on each one.  Later analysis showed they were contracts that had already been awarded to other companies, who had already carried them out.

Q. Did you have any meetings with the defendant where you discussed drug trafficking explicitly?
In 2012 Devis met with Fabio Lobo in Catacamas, Olancho.  At the time Fabio told Devis that his father wasn't "helping him out" because los Cachiros were helping Fabio.  By "helping" Devis said he meant participating in drug trafficking.  Fabio told him that the airport in Aguacate, San Esteban could be used as a landing site for drug planes.

Aguacate has a landing strip because it was a CIA base originally, built in the 1980s to assist with the Contra war in Honduras and Nicaragua.  It housed both the CIA and Honduran military torture cells where suspected communists were tortured and murdered.  Five clandestine cemeteries were later discoved at the site.  Between 1988 and 1999 it was reportedly the landing site for numerous drug planes, and the Honduran military stationed there would carefully offload the drugs.

Fabio Lobo told Devis that he would speak with the military base commander about having los Cachiros drug planes land at Aguacate.  However, it turned out that the base commander said it wouldn't work because of the work done there during the Zelaya administration that prepared it to become a public airport with cargo and passenger terminals.

On another occassion Fabio took Devis to a clandestine airstrip somewhere between Catacamas and the Patuca river.  They went by helicopter, along with a half brother (unnamed) of Fabio's to measure the landing strip and see if it was appropriate for their use in the drug trade.  However, when Devis showed the strip to a Venezuelan pilot working for him, the pilot said it was not usable because it was in a valley between two tall mountains and he'd be afraid of hitting them on landing or takeoff.

  1. Q. Now I would like to direct your attention to 2012. Did the
  2. Cachiros control a landing strip in the Cortes Department?
  3. A. Yes, sir.
  4. Q. Did the defendant ever help you with a cocaine shipment
    that came to that landing strip?
  5. A.Yes,sir.
Devis Rivera testified that Fabio helped them in 2012 with a 400 kilogram shipment of cocaine that arrived by air from Apure, Venezuela to the landing strip in Cortes.  Devis Rivera called Fabio to come to San Pedro Sula and bring his security because they were going to transport some cocaine.  When Fabio got to San Pedro, he was directed to go stay at the Playa hotel in Puerto Cortes, where Devis Rivera picked him up and took him to his beach house in Chachaguala, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  Fabio told Devis Rivera he had spoken with the San Pedro Sula Police commander who had volunteered to kill any police operations along the highway where the drugs had to be transported.  Devis and Fabio drove to Choloma to meet a truck with the offloaded cocaine from the plane and then escorted the truck to La Entrada, Copan, making $800,000 - $1 million profit.  Fabio received an AR-15, an armored SUV, and $20,000 - $30,000 dollars as his pay for that day.  Devis Rivera also paid the same amount to Ramon Matta, the son, as payment for fitting out the SUV.

Ramon Matta is the son of Ramon Matta, a drug dealer kidnapped by the DEA from Honduras, convicted of drug running in a US Fedral Court, and now in a Federal Prison.  Matta was kidnapped by the DEA because at the time there was no extradition between Honduras and the US.  Ramon Matta, the son, took over his father's property, which includes an hacienda with an airstrip in Olancho.

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