QCOSTARICA – The park ranger (guardaparques in Spanish), Mauricio Steller, convicted this week by the Osa Criminal Court to 12 years in prison for the attempted murder of a poacher, may not be so clean after all.
His lawyer, criminal lawyer Juan Diego Castro, who attempted to rally the injustice of convicting an innocent victim through the social media, had to eat crow yesterday on learning that his client, in a case totally separate from the current, is being investigated for drug trafficking and has precautionary measures against him: Stellar has to sign in regularly with the court and cannot leave the country.
In a television interview Tuesday, Castro said, ““we stand in ‘Jurisis’ of people who we believe are being unfairly judged, there is no doubt in my reading of the record that Mauricio Steller was unjustly condemned for the murder.”
However, yesterday, Castro had a different tone.
“When I interview my clients I always ask them if they any other pending legal problems. When I asked Maurico, he told me no, but when I learn of that he is being investigated in Osa on very serious situations related to drug trafficking and even the murder his father, it is very hard for me to hear a case of this kind,” said Castro.
As it turns out, Steller is under investigation by the Fiscalia, docket number 13-200015-454-TP for possession of drugs with the intent to distribute (sell) and the murder of his father and two of his friends.
According to Castro and court documents, Steller, in 2012 while carrying out his duty as park ranger, came across 8 kg of cocaine on a beach, but, instead of turning it over to the authorities, he gave to his father.
Weeks later, the elder Stellar and two friends were found murdered. The alleged killers, a Tico and a Panamanian, were acquitted by the Osa Criminal Court, but continue in custody awaiting final judgment following the appeal by the Fiscalia.
The Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (Sinac) says that a group of Steller’s co-workers have scheduled a manifestation today, protesting Steller’s 12 year conviction.
However, in light of what was learned yesterday afternoon, it is unknown if the protest will now take place.