FBI captures Top 10 fugitive
April 22nd, 2013
06:15 PM ET

FBI captures Top 10 fugitive

One of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives was picked up Saturday in Nicaragua, according to a federal law enforcement official.

The official did not provide details on how Eric Toth, 31, was located and apprehended. Toth is a former Washington private school teacher who was wanted on child pornography charges.

According to the FBI, in June 2008, images of child pornography were found on a school camera Toth had been using. He allegedly also produced such images in Maryland.

U.S. officials are working on returning him to the United States to face charges.

Toth was put on the Ten Most Wanted list in March 2012, and there was a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to his arrest.

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Filed under: District of Columbia • FBI • Justice • Nicaragua
American to be freed from Nicaraguan prison after nearly two years
“I don't know the reason that I'm here," Jason Puracal has said.
September 12th, 2012
09:05 PM ET

American to be freed from Nicaraguan prison after nearly two years

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

An American who has been imprisoned for nearly two years in Nicaragua will be freed Thursday, and all the charges he was convicted of will be vacated, according to members of his legal team and a judicial order they gave to CNN.

Jason Puracal, a 35-year old native of Washington state, had been serving a 22-year sentence for drug-related crimes in one of the Latin American country's most notorious prisons. He is one of 12 people ordered freed.

Since his arrest in 2011, Puracal had many vocal defenders who said the charges were baseless and there was not a shred of evidence presented at his trial to support the charges. Those defenders included prominent human rights activists, renown international attorneys, a former FBI investigator and a U.S. congressman. 

Why defenders believe Puracal is innocent

As his attorneys got word of the release order, it was unclear if Puracal was aware that he was to be a free man, said his attorney Jared Genser.

“We are trying to get word to Jason, but it’s after hours in the prison,” he said. “But we can say this is very, very good news, and we’re pleased that justice can be had in Nicaragua.”

In August, Puracal spoke by phone with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, saying he has been imprisoned in a “hellhole” and that he was “100 percent innocent.”

“I don't know the reason that I'm here," Puracal said. "That's been a mystery from the very beginning. What the motives behind the police and the prosecution have been." 

Wednesday’s order from the court was the result of an appeal hearing that concluded earlier this summer in which Puracal’s legal team argued for his release.

"The family is thrilled to hear the news that they are another huge step closer to bringing Jason home. There is one thing we have known all along over the past two years: Jason is innocent," said Eric Volz, a spokesman for Puracal's family

Filed under: Nicaragua • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
January 10th, 2012
03:35 AM ET

Ortega to begin third term as Nicaragua president

Daniel Ortega is set to mark his third term as Nicaragua's president during an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday - an event both buoyed by his pledges of moderation and marred by months of discord over voter irregularities.

Since the country's November elections, Ortega, 66, has reached for the political middle, making overtures to the business class with promises of encouraging foreign investment.

But his critics say they fear the former leftist revolutionary is looking to solidify Sandinista party control over state institutions and have pointed to reports of ballot fraud and voter intimidation.

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Filed under: Nicaragua • World
January 10th, 2012
03:23 AM ET

Nicaragua next stop in Ahmadinejad's Latin America tour

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heads to Nicaragua on Tuesday, the second stop of his five-day tour of Latin American countries.

There, he will attend the inauguration of President Daniel Ortega, who cruised to a third term in November amidst allegations of voter irregularities.

Accompanying Ahmadinejad will be Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, with whom he met Monday to pledge closer cooperation between their two nations.

Venezuela was the first stop in Ahmadinejad's tour, which was not altogether coincidental.

Despite their cultural differences, Venezuela and Iran have found significant common ground: Both are among the world's top crude oil exporters, and their leaders are strong allies united by a fierce opposition to what they describe as U.S. imperialism.

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Filed under: Iran • Nicaragua • Venezuela • World
October 25th, 2011
02:02 PM ET

Missing Nicaraguan boat found; 29 people aboard all alive

A Nicaraguan naval boat that went missing after evacuating more than two dozen people as Hurricane Rina approached has been found, military officials said Tuesday.

All 29 people aboard were alive.

This story is developing. We'll bring you more information on this story as soon as we get it.

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Filed under: Nicaragua
October 24th, 2011
02:16 PM ET

Rina upgraded to hurricane as it nears Mexico, Cuba

[Updated at 2:16 p.m. ET] Rina has strengthened into a hurricane, according to reports from a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft.

A special advisory will be issued upgrading the storm to a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon.

[Posted at 1:45 p.m. ET] The projected path of Tropical Storm Rina shifted course Monday, menacing Mexico with the possibility of strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Forecasters said Rina was expected to strengthen into a hurricane by Tuesday and could make landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula later this week. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving northwest at 6 mph.

Flood-soaked Central America also braced for more rain Monday as Tropical Storm Rina lumbered toward land.

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Filed under: Honduras • Mexico • Nicaragua • Tropical weather • Weather • World
October 19th, 2011
12:45 PM ET

Central American rains a reminder of Mitch

The death toll from recent rain and flooding in Central America rose to at least 91 Wednesday as the deluge rivaled what the region witnessed during the deadly Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The deadliness of the current disaster is much smaller than Mitch - which killed some 11,000 people - but the large amounts of rain are causing similar damage: washed out bridges, landslides, flooding and river overflows.

"We think of hurricanes as the thing that causes the most damage, but you can have rains that are just as damaging without the hurricane," Herman Rosa Chavez, El Salvador's minister of the environment and natural resources, told CNN.

Already, the rain in El Salvador has tripled the average rainfall for the month of October.

Gauges in the country were registering recent rainfall as high as 55 inches. In comparison, Hurricane Mitch dumped between 50 and 70 inches of rain in the Central American region.

"This phenomenon is of great magnitude," Rosa Chavez said.

A vital difference between the death toll now and in 1998 is that during Mitch, the rainfall came in a matter of a few days. This time, the precipitation has come over a period of more than a week.

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Filed under: Costa Rica • El Salvador • Flooding • Guatemala • Honduras • Nicaragua • Weather
July 10th, 2011
06:16 PM ET

Slain Argentine singer likely not target, official says

Gunmen who shot dead one of Latin America's best-known folk singers Saturday likely did not have Facundo Cabral as their intended target, said Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal.

In the car with Cabral was a Nicaraguan businessman, Henry Farina, who was driving, Menocal said .

"Everything points to that the attack was directed at him (Farina), and not the artist," he said. Still, a motive for the shooting remained unclear.

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Filed under: Argentina • Guatemala • Nicaragua
September 23rd, 2010
01:01 PM ET

Police: Nicaraguan diplomat found with throat slashed

A Nicaraguan diplomat based in New York was found dead Thursday with his throat slashed in his apartment in the Bronx, said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

The victim is not being identified pending family notification.

The body of the diplomat was found by his driver, said Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. A knife was found at the scene, Browne said.

He said it is too early in the investigation to classify the death as a murder or a suicide.


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Filed under: Nicaragua