Having a criminal record in Costa Rica is not an impediment for foreigners obtaining residency, according to a report by La Nacion, that tells the tale of Iluan Beldean, a Romanian national convicted in the country for drug trafficking, and years later given residency by the immigration service.
Beldean was arrested in 2001 by the Policía de Control de Drogas (PCD) – Costa Rica’s drug enforcement police – for leading an organized group that shipped cocaine to Europe in bottles of wine. That same year, according to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), he was sentenced and spent some time in prison before being released.
On Thursday, the OIJ, again arrested the man on suspicion of being the mastermind behind a criminal group that sent cocaine to Europe, this time hidden in shipments of flowers. The OIJ also detained a Colombian national, a Mexican and four Costa Ricans.
The arrests followed a series of raids in homes and businesses in Golfito, Heredia, Alajuela, Guanacaste, Guápiles de Pococí and San José. The Romanian was arrested in luxury home in Brasil de Mora (Cuidad Colon in the province of San José).
What makes this arrest interesting is that, according to the Registro Civil (Civil Registry), Baldean in 2004 married a Costa Rican national and together have a daughter, which allowed him, in 2005, to apply for residency.
Kathya Rodriguez, head of the immigration service, confirmed that the application was submitted with a clean criminal history.
“According to the file, it was never completed. Later, in 2012, he submitted a new application as if for the first time, based on family ties (his wife and daughter). We noticed the first application and processed it based on same.
“There is an apostille certification that he has no criminal record in Romania. It strikes me that I do not see evidence of national criminal records. What we normally ask for is a judicial record of the last 10 years.
“What do I think happened? That for immigration purposes he was a new foreigner and we asked only certification of his country of origin”, Rodriguez told La Nacion.
The immigration service record indicates residency was issued the same year of the application.
Director Rodriguez said that an investigation would be launched, including the fact that immigration records only show one entry into Costa Rica by the name Iluan Beldean, which was on April 15, 2012.
However, according to the OIJ, the man also used the identity of Alberto Turati, which shows a number of migratory movements.
The OIJ also says that Baldean was arrested in 2007 and Austria requested extradition. Judicial authorities could not provide details to what happened to that request.
Back to yesterday’s police operation. Francisco Segura, head of the OIJ, said the group moved small quantities of illegal drugs in trucks, then loaded onto containers headed for Europe. Segura added that in addition to the seizure of five homes valued at between US$8 and US$10 million dollars, seized were firearms and “s—t load” of cash that has yet to the counted.
The investigation into the operations of the criminal gang included the find of 22 kg of cocaine in an abandoned car in Heredia last January and the same amount of illegal drugs in a car seized in Austria in August 2013.
Source: La Nacion