By Tommy Vawter
In the dark and deadly underworld of narco-trafficking down here in Central America, where ruthless people of limited education and meager beginnings are transformed almost overnight into multi-millionaires, to the point that they no longer count the cash money that is flowing in. They have to weigh it because counting it all takes too long.
It seems almost inevitable that sooner or later, some of these modern day pirates of this multi-billion dollar industry are going to burry some of their ill-gotten gains in secret locations.
I am sure that the reasons for hiding some of their wealth varies from one drug lord to another. Some hide their treasure for old age retirement, some to us as an emergency escape in case they are being hunted by new drug lords wanting to take over precious territory and drug transportation routes, and some to save in case the authorities are moving in on them and they need to buy their way out of jail or prison.
So, the other day I’m reading a story in the Honduran newspaper LaPrensa, and I see the headline “Valle family has buried 500 million”. The story goes on to say that the search continues in the mountains of the village The Spirit, in Florida, Copán, in western Honduras. The information indicates a tunnel where the Valle brothers have hid some 500 million dollars in cash, cars and other goods.
The only information authorities have is that the there is a secret passage about a half of a kilometer from the village Spirit, but they do not have an exact location of the site.
Authorities claim to have collected reliable information on the existence of a tunnel. The story goes on to state that when they built their homes in the community, they designed secret underground passages that serve them not only to hoard money, drugs and weapons, but also as an escape route in the event they were descended upon by authorities.
The National Police have already recovered 11 million dollars in cash from a water tank buried in grounds of another property in Las Crucitas, Florida in the department of Copán, and state that the fortune is the product of a 360 million dollar a year operation moving drugs from Honduras to the United States.
This is just the most recent case, and I can only wonder how many other drug lords have also hidden some of their treasure.
Honduras has a Law against money laundering, this Law allows for the confiscation of goods of illicit origin. This policy has allowed the Prosecutor Against Organized crime in conjunction with the Department of Anti-Narcotics (DLCN), to seize in the last four years 378 properties, 237 bank accounts and 49 commercial companies involved in drug trafficking. Over the last ten years authorities have also seized 43 aircraft, 724 vehicles, 176 boats, 1,200 head of cattle, 210 fighting cocks and a hundred horses.
If authorities are unable to locate these tunnels, this will most defiantly go down as yet another treasure legend worthy of a search.
Comment on our FORUM