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Fake Televisa Reporters Found Guilty of Money Laundering

Televisa Mexican TV Station Logo - P 2012

MEXICO CITY -- A group of Mexicans who masqueraded as a Televisa crew in Central America have been found guilty by a Nicaraguan court of money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Eighteen Mexicans en route to Costa Rica were arrested in August while trying to transport $9.2 million near the Nicaragua-Hounduras border. The cash was concealed in six vans displaying Televisa logos. The detainees are facing a maximum 30-year sentence.

Televisa has denied any involvement in the smuggling operation, saying the arrested are not Televisa employees. Additionally, the Mexican media company has requested that the Nicaragua Attorney General's Office investigate accusations that Televisa executive Amador Narcia signed an accreditation letter for the fake news reporters.

According to news agency EFE citing expert witness testimony, the group's leader, Raquel Alatorre, made phone calls to Narcia "before, during and after her arrest."

Investigators in Nicaragua reportedly found traces of cocaine on the confiscated cash. Details of the group's ties to organized crime remain unclear.