Cablegate: Managua End Use Monitoring Report 2007


DE RUEHMU #0323/01 0771949
P 171949Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Managua End Use Monitoring Report 2007

REF: (A) State 16874 (B) 07 State 163708

1. Embassy Managua provides the following information regarding the
end use of resources acquired with INL funds. INL began operating in
Nicaragua in 1997. This cable reviews resources used through the
end of 2007 and details resources supplied in 2007.

2. The USG supports the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP),
principally the Narcotics Unit and the Vetted Unit. Since 2002, INL
Managua has also supported the Nicaraguan Navy in joint
counter-narcotics operations with the Nicaraguan Police and U.S. law
enforcement vessels.

3. The end of ICITAP: Until December, 2003, Post INL administered the DOJ's ICITAP programs. With ICITAP's withdrawal, Post INL arranged the permanent transfer (via MOUs) of all ICITAP donated equipment to the NNP. This transfer included 17 computers, projectors, TVs and other training equipment for the NNP's basic investigator school, and one Toyota pick-up truck.

4. PISCES: In 2003, INL began the deployment of a new Immigration
computer system called PISCES. The contractor made the original
equipment installations, but was unable to follow through with
making the system operational due to the greater demand to bring the
system on line in the Middle East. In January 2005, the contractor
was able to send a team to Managua to conduct an inventory of all
donated equipment, do the final installation, and provide training
to Nicaraguan Immigration personnel. PISCES is installed, with 10
stations, at Managua's international airport. Unfortunately, due to
the incomplete installation, PISCES is still not fully operational.
Additionally, the current Government of Nicaragua (GON) is reluctant
to take steps to move the project forward. Post will continue to
press the GON to take a forward-leaning stance on this issue.

- - - - - -

5. DEA Special Agents and INL personnel verify the proper use and
continuing maintenance of equipment acquired with INL funds while
participating in operations and through regular program monitoring.
The Embassy also receives written feedback from recipients regarding
the use of provided equipment. Early in 2003, the NNP Drug Unit
initiated its own inventory system. The inventory now tracks the
location and condition of all vehicles it has received. An INL
Program Assistant was hired on a part-time basis in April 2006 and
then made a full-time employee in August 2006. One of his
responsibilities is to monitor INL-donated equipment.

Computers/Electronic Equipment
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. INL has purchased computers, monitors, and miscellaneous
hardware and software for the NNP. Prior to 2003, the NNP Narcotics
Unit received nineteen computers, two scanners, nine printers, and
eleven uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) for that unit's Joint
Information Center (JIC). DEA also donated one computer to the
Unit. These items are all in use in the JIC. The NNP Narcotics
unit received ten digital cameras in 2003 and nine more in 2004. In
2003, INL provided three digital cameras for the NNP internal
affairs unit. In 2005, Post INL provided 8 laptop computers and 8
portable printers to the NNP Narcotics Unit for use in the field.
INL donated a laptop computer and printer for use with DARE
materials and anti-gang programs in 2006.

7. The NNP Drug Laboratory was set up in 2002 in Managua for the
purpose of evidence processing. It is one of three labs in
Nicaragua whose reports the judiciary allows as evidence in trials.
INL had provided the laboratory with equipment and supplies.
However, upon delivery, the computers were found to be faulty and
returned to the local supplier. That supplier has since gone out of
business and fled to the U.S.; and the computers have disappeared.
Post INL is ordering supplies and equipment for the lab and will
continue to evaluate what is needed to improve the lab's ability to
process evidence.

8. INL Managua transferred USD 392,000 to ICITAP Guatemala in 2000 to finance the formation of an NNP Anti-Corruption Unit. ICITAP used these funds to buy forty computers, forty uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), two laptops, a variety of radios, printers, digital cameras, camcorders and software and to provide training for the NNP Anti-Corruption Unit. The unit has been operational since 2001. Eight of the computers are in need of repair or replacement.

9. During 2000, INL installed ten closed circuit television cameras
with recorders for use by the Narcotics Unit at the Managua
International Airport. During 2002, six more cameras were
installed, and five more in 2004. The NNP Drug Unit uses these
cameras for surveillance of the airport area and to monitor
suspicious persons. In 2005 and 2006, the system was only partly
functional due to ongoing remodeling and expansion of the airport.
Post INL contracted with the vendor to re-locate cables and move
cameras to make the system fully operational during the remodeling.
Now that airport remodeling is complete, post INL is working with
the Airport Administration and the NNP to detail plans to revamp and
expand the camera system.

Communications Equipment
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

10. Prior to 2003, INL Managua donated two repeaters, thirty-six radios, and three satellite phones to the NNP Narcotics Unit. The NNP Narcotics Unit uses the satellite phones to communicate with the Mobile Inspection Unit (MIU) when it operates in remote areas of Nicaragua. During 2002, INL Managua received surplus cellular phones from AID and donated seven to the Internal Affairs Unit and five to the NNP Drug Unit. During 2007 Post INL further provided 18 cell phones and 10 Motorola two way radios to the NNP. Additionally, INL Managua continues to pay for the NNP's internet connections.

- - - - -

11. The majority of vehicles donated to the NNP are attached to the NNP Drug Unit. The NNP Drug Unit inventory indicates that all donated vehicles are in working order except for three vehicles. One vehicle was totaled during a counternarcotics operation. The second vehicle, a GMC pick up truck, is more than 10 years old and in disrepair due to the lack of vendors who sell GMC spare parts in Nicaragua. Finally, the Drug Unit has retired a Chevrolet Suburban due to the high cost of maintenance and high rate of fuel consumption by the vehicle. Both DEA and INL personnel agree with the Drug Unit reports and observations regarding these three vehicles. Nine vehicles and thirty-six motorcycles were given to the Drug Unit prior to 2003. In 2003, INL provided the NNP Drug Unit with four trucks and 18 motorcycles. In 2004, INL provided four Toyota Hi-Lux pick-up trucks and 18 175cc Yamaha motorcycles. The motorcycles and vehicles are distributed throughout the country at various regional police offices. In addition to these vehicles, INL Managua has equipped two special units for the NNP Drug Unit, a Mobile Inspection Unit (MIU) and a Mobile Surveillance Unit (MSU). The MIU has two vans, a vehicle for carrying canines, two motorcycles, and a full set of entry and inspection tools. During 2004, INL purchased a second vehicle for the MIU, and turned this over with the necessary equipment in 2005. The MSU has seven vehicles that are employed in the surveillance of drug suspects and in interviewing informants. The Mobile Canine Unit also received a Land Cruiser in 2003. In 2004 a DEA surplus Toyota 4-Runner was also transferred to the MSU. In 2005, Post INL added 15 Honda motorcycles and 5 Toyota Hi-Lux trucks to the NNP's Drug Unit. In 2007 a new Hi-Lux was added to the MIU plus 6 motorcycles and 1 ATV for the Drug Unit in Penas Blancas.

12. Visits by the INL Program Assistant have shown that a number of
the donated motorcycles are in need of repair. INL will further
assess the problem in 2008 and decide which vehicles can be
repaired. Also, as noted in the 2006 Managua End Use Monitoring
Report, four vehicles originally donated to the Drug Unit are "on
loan" to other police departments. Post is addressing this issue
and insisting that vehicles be returned to the proper unit or risk
jeopardizing future donations. We note that the Drug Unit is now
making a coordinated effort to track down and secure the return of
the vehicles to the Unit; as a result of these efforts a Toyota 4
Runner (originally donated by DEA) was returned to the Drug Unit in
late 2007.

13. During 2000, INL donated two pick-up trucks to the Civil
Inspection Unit (UIC) as part of Hurricane Mitch Programs.
Additionally, INL donated one Mazda pick-up and ten motorcycles to
the NNP Internal Affairs Unit (UAI). During 2002, the UAI reported
that one motorcycle had been stolen in Managua. INL also purchased
one Toyota Yaris and one Toyota Pick-up for the Anti-Corruption Unit
(UAC) and ten motorcycles. All these purchases were paid out of
Hurricane Mitch funds and all equipment remains in official use with
the exception of the stolen motorcycle. In 2004 INL purchased a
Toyota Yaris for the NNP Women's Commissariat, for use in its
prevention in trafficking in persons outreach program.

- - - -

14. In 1998, INL purchased a Boston Whaler for the NNP. It is
currently in storage in the Police Headquarters in Managua. The
boat has had persistent engine and electronic problems, and the cost
of repairs has become prohibitive. INL has reconfirmed both the
location and the status of the boat and has started negotiations
with Mercury Motors either obtain a reimbursement on or
refurbishment package for the boat.

15. During 2002, INL Managua made a variety of purchases for the
Nicaraguan Navy, including lifejackets, whistles, lights, flares,
compasses, radar, radios, and various other tracking and
communications devices. This equipment has been used in joint
counter-narcotics operations with the USCG, the Nicaraguan Navy and
U.S. law enforcement vessels. All but the life jackets (due to
normal wear and tear) are in good condition. In 2005 Post INL
donated 225 lifejackets and 2 life rafts to the Navy. In 2006, Post
turned over USD 25,000 worth of Yamaha engine parts for maintaining
the fast boat fleet. INL refurbished a Dabur Patrol Boat for the
Nicaraguan Navy that became operational in 2003. The second Dabur
was refurbished in 2005. However, there were some continuing
maintenance problems which were addressed in 2006 and the vessel is
now operational. Work is set to finish on the third Dabur in 2008.
Also in 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard delivered one fast boat to the
Nicaraguan Navy in Bluefields and two other speedboats were
delivered to Managua. One, however, suffered damage to the hull in
transit. In 2003 the British Government provided funds for the USG
to refurbish an additional fast boat as well. The fast boats in
Corinto, San Juan del Sur, Puerto Cabezas, Miskito Cay, and in
Bluefields all appear to be in working order and are being used

16. In December, 2003 the USG donated a 110 ft. utility boat, named the MV Kastor, to the Nicaraguan Navy. The Kastor was seized while smuggling drugs. Post's original intent was to refurbish the Kastor to give the Navy a deep water capability in the Pacific. Unfortunately, during the two years that the Kastor was tied up in litigation, prior to the turnover, it deteriorated to the point that it was no longer cost effective to recondition it. It remains docked at the Navy base in Corinto.

- - - - - - -

17. Vehicle Inspection Station: In 2000, INL Managua signed an LOA
with the GON that committed the USG to build a Vehicle Inspection
Station at Penas Blancas on the southern border with Costa Rica.
The Inspection Station was inaugurated in August, 2002 and was
outfitted with computers, two forklifts, an Ion Scan Machine, a
pallet mover and a wide range of tools used in vehicle inspection.
The Station is operational and in use. INL and DEA personnel visit
Penas Blancas on a regular basis and have verified the status of the
equipment. In 2006, INL funded repairs to the vehicle inspection
station, including paving the vehicle inspection lane, revamping the
dog kennels, repairing the water pump and pipes, and enhancing
security lighting and fencing. In 2007 INL acquired a contract with
a local vendor to provide maintenance services for a generator at
the Penas Blancas Station.

18. NNP Canine (K-9) Unit: In 2001, INL Managua contracted with CSI International to do a study of the needs of the Nicaraguan Canine (K-9) Unit. During 2002, CSI delivered twelve counter-drug dogs and implemented a comprehensive program that included extensive training for the dog handlers. Six counter-drug dogs were added in 2003 and five more (three of which were dedicated to detecting drugs and illegal currency at the post office) were donated in 2004. This unit continues to function and participate in productive drug busts. The dogs are based in various areas of the country, including the Vehicle Inspection Station in Penas Blancas, the Managua International Airport and the Atlantic Coast port of Bluefields. It is noteworthy that in 2003 the first Nicaraguan-born dog was trained and is now an active component of the unit. The NNP has graduated its first full certified dog trainer, thus enabling the NNP to have a completely freestanding and autonomous K-9 program. Therefore, Post INL's contract with a US-based dog training contractor has been allowed to expire. Post has some concerns about the health of the dogs and the NNP's management of the program. In 2008, Post will coordinate with NAS Guatemala's highly regarded K-9 Unit management team to conduct a new assessment of the state of Nicaragua's K-9 Unit and implement the necessary changes.

- - - -

19. In general, equipment delivered to our counterparts is
adequately used and maintained for its intended purposes. The MIU
follows a regular deployment schedule and routinely seizes drugs and
disrupts illegal activity. The Vehicle Inspection Station in Penas
Blancas is fully operational and has made major drug seizures. The
Navy fast boats and Daburs are also making some seizures and their
rate of seizures has increased dramatically compared to previous
years, but they are continually hindered by a lack of fuel supply.

20. However, as the INL Managua Program has grown, maintenance has become an increasingly important issue. NNP Drug Police officials have asked INL Managua to provide major maintenance and overhauls for expensive donated items, leaving more routine care and upkeep to the NNP. INL Managua will need to dedicate an increasing share of its budget to maintenance issues (such as the purchase of USD 200,000 in Yamaha engines and parts for the Navy) to ensure the viability of ongoing programs. Continuing repair and maintenance issues at the Penas Blancas Vehicle Inspection Station were addressed in 2006, but Post plans to pursue a longer-term maintenance contract to protect and maintain the facility. INL Managua also plans to pay for ongoing maintenance programs for the Dabur boats.

- - - - -

21. The current GON administration has shown reluctance to
cooperate on moving forward with complete implementation of the
PISCES program. Also, providing supplies and parts for upkeep of
INL donations will be an increasing task for INL. Both the NNP and
Navy have insufficient budgets to maintain all the equipment that
INL is providing.

22. Post needs to work with the NNP and Navy to ensure maintenance
of INL donated-facilities and equipment. This may include funding
maintenance contracts for key programs such as the Dabur boats, the
Penas Blancas vehicle inspection station and the Vetted Unit
vehicles. Post continues to have concerns about maintenance at
Penas Blancas and will address these in 2008. Despite recent
repairs during 2006 and 2007, the facility is not being adequately
maintained. One ongoing problem is the apparent decrease in the
water table in the area and the corresponding need to deepen the
well providing potable water to the station. INL is examining the
feasibility and costs associated with deepening the well.

23. Several NNP vehicles have been "loaned" to other departments.
Post will address this issue and remind the police that this can
jeopardize future donations. We note that the Drug Unit is now
making a coordinated effort to track down and secure the return of
the vehicles to the Unit; as a result of these efforts a Toyota 4
Runner (originally donated by DEA) was returned to the Drug Unit in
late 2007.

- - - -

24. INL funded equipment and operational support directly
contributed to a record year of narcotics seizures by both the NNP
and the Nicaraguan Navy, with 13.2 tons of cocaine seized in CY 2007
versus 9.7 tons seized in CY 2006. In particular, the Mobile
Inspection and K-9 Units conducted extremely successful interdiction
operations at the Penas Blancas inspection station. We note that in
CY 2008 the Vetted Unit, which is intended to investigate money
laundering and corruption in addition to narcotics trafficking, has
already conducted the seizure of over a ton of cocaine. The
Nicaraguan Navy also utilized INL refurbished DABUR patrol boats to
achieve significant narcotics seizures on both the Atlantic and
Pacific Coasts of Nicaragua.


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