QCOSTARICA – The arrest of El Indio, a gang leader suspected responsibility for a number of murders and leader of a drug gang, was sentenced last Tuesday to 70 years in prison.
The sentence does not reflect the real time he will spend jailed. Under Costa Rican law, the maximum a person may spend behind bars is 50 years.
Another seven members of his gang were also found guilty and four accused were judged innocent. El Indio’s real name is Marco Antonio Zamora Solórzano and his latest arrest ends a bloody plague of crimes. He was convicted of criminal conspiracy, two murders of several attributed to him and his drug dealing activities.
But he was acquitted of money laundering and attempted homicide. The San Jose courtroom where he was tried was notable for evidence of extreme security measures to prevent violence or escape. His criminal alias means “the Indian” and underscores that he did not live in an environment of political correctness.
La Nacion reported that Indio’s gang controlled drug traffic in Desamparados, Paso Ancho, La Union, downtown San Jose and Calle Fallas. Besides selling marijuana, cocaine and crack and the newspaper reported that it was known that he laundered money but insufficient evidence was revealed to legally convict him.
El Indio’s brother, Jose Francisco Zamora, was sentenced to 60 years preliminary sentence. For their part, Moise Medina was condemned to 44 years, Jairo Mondragon to 35, Jose Mena and Erick Villalobos each to 32, Silvia Martinez and Jason Jimenez each to eight years.
The two brothers will be held in preventive detention for another year while an appeals court goes through the trial information. The appellate judges will have their work cut out for them: the trial began last February and lasted a year.
In November, 2013, the daughter and sister of the two brothers pleaded guilty and were sentenced without trial. They and another five pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and criminal conspiracy (called here “illicit association.”) The first breaks in the case came in 2012.
The gang also was stripped of its motor pool of 15 vehicles and 18 houses, plus suffering the confiscation of 65 million colones in dollars, quetzales from Guatemala, British pounds sterling, Mexican pesos and Colombian pesos. Police here said that, if they had been unable to break up the gang, it could have reached the power level of a Mexican cartel.