Ana Alliegro, a Florida political operative and longtime friend of former Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), disappeared on Sept. 6, 2012. And despite her potential role as a key witness in a federal investigation tied to the former Republican lawmaker, her whereabouts have remained a mystery for more than six months. But that may be changing.A reporter for AmÃ©rica TeVÃ©, a Miami-based Spanish-language television station, reported late last week that a government source in Nicaragua had informed her that Alliegro entered Nicaragua on Sept. 6. According to the reporter, Erika Carrillo, there is no indication that Alliegro has since left the country, at least by plane.
While Alliegro is not a fugitive — there’s no warrant out for her arrest — she fell off the map the same day that she was reportedly scheduled to meet with federal investigators. The day before she disappeared, Sept. 5, federal agents had raided her Miami, Fla. apartment, taking away a computer and a cellphone, among other items.
According to prior media reports, Alliegro served as a go-between for Rivera and an out-of-nowhere 2012 Democratic congressional primary candidate in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, Justin Lamar Sternad, who initially failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in campaign expenditures. Earlier this month, Sternad pleaded guilty to the charges against him, including one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors said Sternad had received illegal cash contributions form co-conspirators to pay for the design, printing, and distribution of campaign flyers.
The Miami Herald has reported that Rivera helped “orchestrate and fund” the efforts to help Sternad, in an attempt to trip up a political rival, Joe Garcia, who eventually won the August primary and then defeated Rivera in the general election in November. Rivera, who has experience dealing with legal inquiries, has denied any connection with Sternad.
Alliegro, a self-described “conservative bad girl,” served as Sternad’s campaign manager. Her grandfather was Senate president in Cuba during the Batista era, and her father helped train contra rebels in Nicaragua for the U.S. military.
Carrillo, the AmÃ©rica TeVÃ© reporter, also reported last week that Rivera spent several days in Nicaragua in December 2012, though she did not know whether the trip was connected with Alliegro.
Contacted by TPM on Tuesday, Alliegro’s lawyer, Florida attorney Mauricio Padilla, said he had seen the reports of his clients whereabouts, but could neither confirm nor deny them.
An email to a private address once used by David Rivera’s campaign was not returned.