One of the world’s most infamous and dangerous drug lords, Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, surrendered to U.S. specialists and pleaded guilty to charges that incorporate murder, drug trafficking, and weapon offenses.
Rivera not only confessed but chose to cooperate with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Part of his contribution was to acknowledge in court that he was responsible for over 78 murders.
Acknowledgment of his crimes came in a pre-sentencing investigation for Fabio Lobo, who pleaded guilty in May 2017. Lobo’s criminal activity involved collaborating to smuggle cocaine into the United States.
The Deal with the Devil
From 2003-13, Rivera, along with his brother Javier, entered the world of crime, murder, and drug trafficking. However, they were not alone. Their parents and other brothers, known as the bloody Los Cachiros de Tocoa Cartel, became a terror to the Atlantic Coast of Honduras. During the Rivera era of crime, the nation of Honduras was, and still is, recognized as having one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
In 2012, Rivera’s reign of terror was running rampant. Murder and savagery reached a peak in Honduras, with an average of 20 crimes a day. Cities like the Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula had registered manslaughter rates among the highest on the planet. Even today, the brutality is related to drug trafficking. Honduras is a frequently traveled destination point with various urban gangs, basically the MS-13 and the 18th Street Pack.
Honduras, in 2012, had the highest homicide rate in its history. The country also had the highest killing percentage in a non-war nation. It would finish out the year with over 7172 homicides. On average, there were 20 homicides per day. Compared to the previous year, there was a 6.2 percent rise in killings and 83.4 percent of these murders were committed with guns. Because of the high levels of impunity in the country, most of the slayings in Honduras go unpunished, including those of Rivera.
However, while the family was on their murdering streak, they also feared for their lives. They feared assassination, especially after learning that the U.S. Treasury Department put the whole family on a blacklist, in September of 2013. At the same time, the Honduran government started going after property. It was also during this era that Riveria began to secretly tape traitors like Lobo, the son of previous President Porfirio Lobo Sosa.
Rivera eventually negotiated with his brother an agreement with New York Prosecution that took them to prison but saved the other members of his family from jail. Rivera, his mother, father, third brother, and sister live today, in the United States. Most likely, they are living under new identities, safeguarded by the U.S. government.
Life of a Drug Lord
The drug lord made a point to work with drug traffickers and others, and he was “responsible” for the death of 78 individuals. This number was an issue for authorities in the United States. Especially, when Rivera came to them offering to uncover the high level of defilement in Honduras. A corruption that was deep and ongoing in this Central American country of approximately nine million individuals.
Prosecutors, in the Honduras case, who accepted the agreement with Rivera and the second deal with his brother, mentioned the brothers offered a rare chance to unmask the links among drug traffickers, Honduran elected officials, and entrepreneurs.
Reports show that Honduras is believed to be a significant drug path to the U.S. Trafficking is said to have increased tremendously after the U.S. interrupted anti-drug support. This disturbance occurred right after the 2009 Honduran coup d’état. Corruptible domestic law enforcement organizations make Honduras a common point of entry for drug channels all through Central America.
As stated by Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan, the criminal drug trade in Honduras not only stained much of its civil society, as well as the uppermost levels of régime and its financial sector but also brought violence on its people.
Violence: The way of Life
Rivera brought terror to many innocent people. He and his brother used violence to force out rivals and others. In 2003, they were responsible for the death of a hospital security guard. A year later, they murdered a man he had been guarding, a Honduran cartel leader, in cold blood.
Because of the high levels of impunity in the nation, most of those who commit murder in Honduras are hardly ever punished. In current years, merely 4 percent of these killings have ended with a guilty verdict. The absence of justice has created a lack of confidence in law enforcement agencies and authority figures.
There are now those in Honduras that can sleep peacefully. Since Rivera is facing justice in New York, people are finding more relief. “They ought to be judged here, yet by whom?” mentioned Hilda Caldera, the widow of Alfredo Landaverde, a legislator, and the counter-drug official who was murdered in December 2011. Landaverde is one of the murders to which Rivera has confessed. “The justice system here is contaminated.”
One victim’s dad, Heriberto Palacios, stated he questioned that whoever requested the murdering of his child, Nahum, would be held accountable. He was uneasy at the possibility of mercy for the Rivera siblings, given “much of the wickedness they did in Honduras.”
By Jomo Merritt
Edited by Jeanette Smith
The New York Times: After 78 Killings, a Honduran Drug Lord Partners With the U.S.
CBS Sacramento: Drug Trafficker In New York Court Claims He Bribed Honduran President
Stratfor: In Honduras, Drugs and Democracy Go Hand in Hand
Image by Agência Brasil Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License