Environmental inspection team released after entering Nicaragua

Six members of an environmental inspection team accidentally crossed into Nicaragua Tuesday and were detained until 11 p.m. by the Nicaraguan army.

The incident was no big deal, according to the press office of the Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo, which was critical of media sensationalism.

But the security ministry took credit along with the foreign ministry for freeing the six without an international incident.

The team was part of an announced inspection of hydro projects and agricultural sites. They were seeking environmental damage.

The incursion into Nicaragua took place at Pueblo Nuevo in the San José de Upala district. The Tribunal Ambiental said the incursion happened because the border was not well marked and that a global positioning device carried by the team had a problem. The team was in the process of inspecting a field of rice.

The Tribunal Ambiental explained later in the day that the six had driven 650 meters into Nicaragua. The team included biologists, an environmental judge, a forestry engineer, a driver and Allan Flores, a lawyer who is the former tourism minister. The two vehicles involved were returned Wednesday. The Tribunal Ambiental is part of the  Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía.

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