Nicaraguan authorities are investigating what they call a vast network of drug criminals behind a seizure of US$9.2 million (NZ$11.4m), which was hidden in vans driven by people pretending to be part of a Mexican television news crew.
National Police's spokesman Fernando Borge said the destination of the money for which 18 people have been detained was Costa Rica. He said it was a payment for a load of drugs.
Borge told The Associated Press that a former police agent heard a conversation from those now detained of their plans to drive through Nicaragua with the money. He said the man alerted authorities in Managua.
Initially, authorities had said they found US$7 million in smuggled cash, but on Monday they said it was more money than they first thought.