Wednesday 28 July 2021

Today 50 years ago: Costa Rica began to deal with organized banditry

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QCOSTARICA – Believe it not, it wasn’t until some 50 years ago that Costa Rica had a ‘banditry” problem, that doesn’t mean there was no crime in the country at the time, just it wasn’t organized.

Archive image of the old penitentiary located in San José. Photo: La Nacion archives

The following is from the original text published by La Nación on July 18, 1971.

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The Minister of the Interior and Police, Lic. Carlos Manuel Vicente Castro, comments on an editorial published by La Nación at the end of last week, in relation to organized banditry.

The statements made by the senior official are:

“Once again, La Nación, on a sensible level, focuses on the criminal problem of Costa Rica, in the presence of new manifestations of crime, such as organized banditry, which these days is seriously worrying the country.

“The situation becomes serious and its integral solution is not easy. La Nación is right when it notes with concern that the origin of the problem may be in the Central Penitentiary of San José and that it should be studied in depth as soon as possible.

“Since I took over the Ministry, this concern has been so great that a comprehensive plan was immediately drawn up to solve, once and for all, the prison problem in Costa Rica.”

In other news:

Part of a large loot appeared

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Several thousand colones* in jewelry, gold coins, watches and other valuables, violently stolen from the jewelry store owned by Rafael A. Calderón S., were recovered yesterday by detectives Edwin Jiménez and O. Bauzid.

Photo: La Nacion archives

The Directorate of Detectives said agents followed the trail of three gang members specialized in this type of robbery. They managed to arrest one, who implicated the others in the crime.

Authorities said they will not reveal the identity of the detained antisocials for now, as they hope to unravel a series of violent robberies that have occurred elsewhere.

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* At the time the exchange rate was 3.18 colones to one US dollar. For example, ¢1,000 colones then would be US$263.

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