Nicaragua returns 18 fake journalists to Mexico to serve out sentences for money smuggling

Nicaragua says 18 Mexicans caught posing as journalists in an attempt to smuggle $9.2 million in drug money have been sent back to their home country to serve out their 18-year prison sentences for money laundering convictions.

The Mexicans were arrested in 2012 when Nicaraguan officers found bundles of cash hidden in phony TV news vehicles.

Last January, a Nicaraguan judge sentenced them to 30 years, but those sentences were reduced to 18 years on appeal.

Nicaragua has an agreement with Mexico allowing prisoners to serve out sentences in their home countries.

Nicaraguan police chief Ramon Avellan said Monday that the transfer will free up prison space in Nicaragua. The Mexican government confirmed the convicts had left Nicaragua.