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Pollo Campiña

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Pollo Campiña
Private
IndustryRestaurants, drug trafficking
FateLiquidated, with assets seized by the Creeperian government, some locations later sold to Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre
Founded23 June 1994; 28 years ago (1994-06-23)
Defunct12 March 2018; 4 years ago (2018-03-12)
HeadquartersLa'Victoria, San Luís, Creeperopolis
Number of locations
114 (2018)
Area served
Central Creeperopolis
Key people
Products
  • Legal products
  • Fried chicken, grilled chicken, boiled chicken, chicken bowls, chicken sandwiches, chicken wings
  • Illegal products
  • Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine
RevenueIncrease ₡35.32 billion colóns (2017)
Increase ₡12.41 billion colóns (2017)
Number of employees
11,421 (2017)
Websitepollocampina.com.cr

Pollo Campiña[note 1] (literally "Countryside Chicken") was a Creeperian fast-food restaurant and front company which specialized in chicken-related products and was involved in major drug trafficking operations for almost 24 years.

The restaurant chain was established in 1994 by Martín Ureña Piñon and Carlos Dávalos Obregón, who served as owner and CEO respectively, as a competitor to both Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre, which then held a duopoly on fast-foot chicken restaurants in Creeperopolis. From 1994 until 2018, the company expanded to 114 locations across eight departments in central Creeperopolis, and advertized itself as the "central Creeperian choice" for chicken, in reference to how Pollo Campero dominates southern markets and Pollo Campestre dominates northern markets.

In 2018, after a lengthy investigation into the company by the Creeperian government, Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón were arrested by the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), which determined that Pollo Campiña was a front company to launder money obtained through drug trafficking operations. The government also determined that the two had affiliations with and cooperated with Mara Salvatrucha (MS), which they allowed to use their facilities to produce and store cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. They also hired a group of Mara Salvatrucha members to serve as the restaurant's paramilitary force. Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón were sentenced to extremely lengthy prison sentences for their organization of the illegal operations conducted at the restaurants, while around one hundred more managers and administrative staff were sentenced to death for their involvement.

Several attempts by Creeperian entrepreneurs have been made to reopen the restaurant, however, the Creeperian government has halted all efforts. Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre have also purchased some former Pollo Campiña locations from the government to be repurposed as a part of their own restaurant chains. Some have considered Pollo Campiña to be one of the most successful money laundering schemes in Creeperian history.

Corporate history

Establishment

Pollo Campiña was founded by Martín Ureña Piñon and Carlos Dávalos Obregón on 23 June 1994. Ureña Piñon was the former mayor of La'Victoria, serving from 1983 to 1994, and Dávalos Obregón was the former minister of internal affairs of San Luís, serving from 1985 to 1994. Ureña Piñon served as the company's owner while Dávalos Obregón served as its CEO, although both held an equal say in the management of the company.

Both Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón resigned from their government positions in order to focus on the operations the company. Their primary goal of fracturing the duopoly of Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre over fast-food chicken restaurants. Pollo Campero held a hegemony in southern Creeperopolis, while Pollo Campestre dominated in northern Creeperopolis, and due to that, Pollo Campiña had its locations primarily located in central Creeperopolis, where both companies had locations in order to disrupt both of their operations. In an interview in 1997, Ureña Piñon stated that the goal of the chain was to "give central Creeperans a chicken chain identity; northerners are Campestiros, southerners are Camperosos, so centrists will be Campiñeros."

Operations

A former location of Pollo Campiña in Serrada del Sur, 2020.

The chain's first location opened in La'Victoria, the largest city in the department San Luís, on 1 December 1994. The second restaurant opened only one week later on 7 December 1994 in San Luís, the department's capital city. Pollo Campiña was advertized as the "central Creeperian choice" for chicken, and by the end of the year, three more locations were opened, another in La'Victoria, one in Tampulaz, and one in Sechakan. By the end of 1995, the chain opened 34 more locations, most notably in Quetgoza and Joyagua in San Luís, Jucuaguel, Teguracoa, and Adolfosburg in Adolfosburg, and Serrada del Sur in San Salvador.

In 2001, Pollo Campiña reportedly was outcompeting Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre in the departments of San Luís and Adolfosburg, and by that same year, the chain had expanded to four more departments: La'Libertad del Norte, La'Libertad del Sur, La'Unión, and Santa Ana. The chain's largest location was opened in La'Victoria in 2002. Pollo Campiña acquired the Jakiz-based chain Pollo de la'Asada in 2004 for ₡9.1 billion colóns, acquiring the chain before Pollo Campero was able to. The acquisition gained Pollo Campiña 20 new locations and gaining significant influence in a department which was dominated by Pollo Campero. The company unveiled a new logo in 2007. In 2012, the first two locations in Atlántida were opened.

Illegal activities

A cocaine storage unit discovered by the DINA in Teguracoa.

From the beginning of the company's existence, its existence was used as simply a front to launder money earned from illicit activities undertaken by Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón. In 1993, both men got involved with the illegal activities of Mara Salvatrucha (MS), the largest criminal gang and paramilitary group in the country, and to further support the group's activities, both men founded Pollo Campiña.

The first few restaurants opened were legitimate businesses to not arouse any suspicions, but beginning in 1996, some of the restaurants began to be transformed into cocaine production facilities, especially the locations in San Luís and later Santa Ana. Along with cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine were also produced at some locations. The largest location which was opened in 2002 was the primary hub of cocaine production, storage, and transportation to distribution centers.

Pollo Campiña paid members of Mara Salvatrucha to operate as a sort of paramilitary group for the company. Referred to as "Los'Polleros," the paramilitary distributed illegal drugs produced at locations, transported the drugs to various locations, and killed individuals who attempted to disrupt the company's illegal activities. One report accounted how six members of Los'Zetas were kidnapped by Los'Polleros, taken to a location in Denilla, and tortured to death for stealing 60 pounds of cocaine from a Pollo Campiña truck. In total, Pollo Campiña recorded that 129 people were murdered by Los'Polleros between 1996 and 2017, but it is believed by the Creeperian government that there may be dozens to hundreds of more victims which have not been recorded for unknown reasons.

A specific report stated that Alfonso Herrera Pérez, the son-in-law of Dávalos Obregón, was kidnapped by Los'Polleros in 2014 as both Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón believed that he was going to inform the Creeperian government about the illegal activities of the company. His disappearance case was not solved until 2019 after Pollo Campiña was forcefully closed by the Creeperian government.

Government investigation and liquidation

Army soldiers at the site of the car bombing in Tuxtla Martínez.

In 2015, Pollo Campiña controversially opened a location in Tuxtla Martínez, Zapatista, considered to be the core of Pollo Campero's sphere of influence. Known as the "Zapatistan Venture," on 5 July 2017, the location was the target of a car bomb attack, resulting in 18 deaths and 52 injuries. The Creeperian Army and Creeperian National Police (PNC) arrived at the location to investigate the car bombing, but the manager of the location insisted to the army and police that they do not enter the restaurant. Óscar Leyzaola Guzmán, the chief of police of Tuxtla Martínez, ordered the police to enter the restaurant as a part of the investigation into the car bombing. The army and police forcefully entered the restaurant, and during the investigation, soldiers and police officers uncovered a secret entrance in the back of the restaurant which led to an underground storage facility. Although it was empty, investigators believed that it was recently emptied in the aftermath of the car bombing, and after further investigation of the facility, trace amounts of cocaine were discovered all around the facility.

Leyzaola Guzmán ordered the arrest of all of the restaurant's employees and informed the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) of the discovery, believing that this was a part of a wider conspiracy within the company. In early-2018, DINA agents forcefully accessed various Pollo Campiña locations across the country, and in many of them, the agents uncovered various cocaine production labs and storage facilities, with some of the encounters resulting in shootouts between the agents and workers in the labs and facilities. Upon the revelations of the labs and facilities, Augusto Cabañeras Gutiérrez, the minister of intelligence and head of the DINA, ordered the arrests of Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón.

Ureña Piñon was arrested by the DINA on 11 March 2018 at his mansion outside of La'Victoria, and Dávalos Obregón was arrested the following day after a shootout with Los'Polleros in Teguracoa as he was attempting to evade arrest. Upon the arrest of both men, the DINA announced the cessation of all activities of Pollo Campiña, declaring that all locations are officially considered to be crime scenes under investigation. All locations were seized by the government and the restaurant was effectively liquidated, ceasing to exist. The car bombing itself was never fully investigated, however, popular opinion believes that members of Los'Zetas planted the car bomb in revenge for the kidnapping of Herrera Pérez.

Legal proceedings

Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón

Upon the arrests of Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón, the DINA conducted further investigations into the actions of the company, and after enough evidence was found against Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón, the Creeperian National Military Tribunal (TMNC) held a one-day show trial of both men on 23 June 2018, where both were unanimously found guilty of a multitude of charges presented against them. The two men were found guilty of:

  • Drug trafficking (c)
  • Arms trafficking (c)
  • Human trafficking (c)
  • Sex trafficking (c)
  • Waging war on the Empire (c)
  • Murder (x129) (c)
  • Attempted murder (x500) (c)
  • Terrorism (c)
  • Conspiracy (c)
  • Armed robbery (c)
  • Owning slaves (c)
  • Organizing a paramilitary
  • Kidnapping
  • Racketeering
  • Larceny
  • Corruption
  • Money laundering
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Tax evasion
  • Tax fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Wire fraud
(c) – indicates the charge is a capital crime

The two were held in the San Salvador City Jail for two more days until 25 June 2018 when both men were sentenced for their convictions. Cabañeras Gutiérrez handed down both men the same sentence: 179,476 life sentences plus 42,700 years,[note 2] effectively life imprisonment. The tribunal ordered that both men had to serve out their sentences at the Tuxtla Martínez–Panachor Maximum Correctional Facility (TMP), a super-maximum security prison which is considered to be the worst prison in Creeperopolis. Both men began serving their sentences on 26 June 2018. Ureña Piñon's prisoner number was issued as TMP20180358 and Dávalos Obregón's prisoner number was issued as TMP20180359. Both men, who are classified as being political prisoners and mara members, are known to be alive as of 1 March 2022.

Managers and other administrators

After the arrests of Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón, the DINA issued arrest warrants for every single Pollo Campiña manager and administrative employees for participation in or knowledge of the company's illegal activities. No warrants were issued for low-level workers at the various restaurants, citing the shear number of arrests which would have to be made and the fact that many of them may not have had any knowledge of the activities to begin with. By late-2018, the DINA reported that 85 of the 114 managers at the time of the company's closure had been arrested, an additional 16 were killed during shootouts, with the remaining 13 still being at large.

A large trial for the arrested managers began on 1 January 2019. After two weeks, 69 of the managers were found guilty on various charges, many of which were similar to those held against Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón, and all of them were sentenced to death for their roles in the company's actions. The 69 convicted managers were executed by firing squad on 23 June 2019, the 25th anniversary of the company's establishment.The remaining 16 managers were acquitted of all charges, as they were found to have no involvement in the company's illegal activities.

After the trials concluded, eight more managers were arrested over the course of mid-2019 to late-2021. All eight had separate trials, two weeks after their arrests, and all of them were found guilty of the charges brought against them. Each was executed two days after they were found guilty. In that same time, two more managers were killed in shootouts. Two more managers were killed in a shootout in February 2022. The final manager at large, Enrique Tassis Linares, is believed to have been kidnapped and executed by Los'Zetas in 2020, although there is no evidence of this and Los'Zetas has not publicly confirmed the rumors.

The company's 30 administrators were all arrested between mid-2018 and late-2019. All of the managers were found guilty of the charges brought before them, and all were executed by firing squad in mid-April 2020. Of all the individuals convicted of crimes in relation to the illegal activities of Pollo Campiña, Ureña Piñon and Dávalos Obregón are the only ones to not be executed, although, some consider a sentence in TMP to be worse than being executed.

Attempts to reopen

The closure of Pollo Campiña caused some uproar among consumers, who enjoyed the food provided by the restaurant or liked having a "central Creeperian chicken chain" restaurant. Some Creeperian entrepreneurs have attempted to reestablish the restaurant chain, however, the Creeperian government has forcibly closed any attempts to do so. Online petitions to reopen the restaurant tend to be taken down by the government.

During the investigation, Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre petitioned the Creeperian government to sell them the confiscated locations upon them no longer being crime scenes as Pollo Campiña had negatively affected both of their businesses in the areas where locations were opened. The Creeperian government responded to the companies' petitions, stating that the restaurants which had no involvement or vary minimal involvement in the illegal operations will be sold to both companies, while those with heavy involvement will remain in government possession indefinitely. The government sold 22 restaurants to Pollo Campero and Pollo Campestre in from 2021 to 2022 for an undisclosed amount of money, while the remaining 92 remained in government possession.

Some internet conspiracy theories have claimed that the restaurants taken by the government continue to be used for illegal activities. Conspiracy theorists claim that after the restaurants were seized, the Creeperian government continued operations, including drug trafficking, to generate money for the government, effectively reusing the front company for illegal government activities. The theories have been rejected by the Creeperian government, and spreading and supporting the theories has been made punishable by five years imprisonment.

See also

Creeperopolis portal
Terraconserva portal

Notes

  1. Creeperian: Պոժո Ծամպիթա; Creeperian Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpo.ʎo kamˈpi.ɲa].
  2. The sentences of the two men is broken down as follows. Each capital crime received life sentences while each non-capital crime received a sentence in years. The capital sentences include (in life sentences): drug trafficking 100, arms trafficking 100, human trafficking 100, sex trafficking 100, waging war on the Empire 1,000, murder (x129) 129,000, attempted murder (x500) 25,000, terrorism 24,000, conspiracy 50, armed robbery 1, owning slaves 25. The non-capital sentences include (in years): organizing a paramilitary 1,000, kidnapping 25,000, racketeering 2,500, larceny 200, corruption 1,000, money laundering 10,000, embezzlement 500, extortion 500, tax evasion 500, tax fraud 500, insurance fraud 500, wire fraud 500.