Tuesday 21 September 2021

Judge Revokes Bail For Truck Driver Carrying 741 Kgs of Cocaine When Found Trying To Leave The Country

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El trailero Montero (camiseta de rayas) es custodiado por oficiales del OIJ. Él fue puesto ayer en la tarde a la orden de Adaptación Social. | CARLOS VARGAS
The truck driver Montero (striped shirt) is escorted by OIJ officials back to preventive detention (jail) after being nabbed trying to leave Costa Rica | CARLOS VARGAS, La Nacion

The driver of a truck nabbed by the Policía de Control de Drogas (PCD) – anti drug police – discovering he carried 741 kilograms of cocaine headed for Guatemala last January 30, nearly got away despite the court provision of a three-month “preventive detention”.

He was nabbed –  again – trying to pass through the northern border post of Peñas Blancas despite the “impedimento de salida” – the restriction of not being able to leave the country – as a condition of his bail.

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The Liberia criminal court revoked the man’s freedom Wednesday.

The man, identified by his last name Montero, had told the court that he had job  – selling bread in Heredia – that allowed him to be free on bail while authorities continued their investigation. The bail condition ordered by judge Jean Carlos Monge on March 19, was revoked by the Liberia criminal court chief judge, Rodrigo Campos, who said that “selling bread” was not a strong enough tie for a flight risk.
Criminal court judges can release an accused on bail, from light to severe restrictions, when there is sufficient ties to the communities and no risk of flight. Typical bail conditions is signing in at the local court house and restrictions on leaving the country*.

When a judge considers a job as a sufficient anchor to keep a defendant from fleeing justice, the court may grant freedom while awaiting trial if the person signs in every two weeks. Unfortunately, this is granted too often, which means that many of OIJ’s most wanted fled while awaiting trial or sentencing.

Judge Campos decided that delivering bread was not enough. Montero will, a hearing determined Wednesday, serve out the remaining 39 days of his preventative detention in the slammer.

In January, Montero was stopped by police

Editor’s note: in Costa Rica all persons leaving the country are vetted by immigration officials, be it a the land border crossings or airports.

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At the land crossings, there is a face-to-face with an immigration official and his or her computer. At the airports, the vetting is done behind the scene, the airlines having to submit passenger information for immigration, who then check their computers for any restrictions – for clearance prior to flight departure.

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