San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

560 contraband phones confiscated in La Reforma in 2011, latest 3 found in man's anus

With security ramped up at Costa Rica’s maximum security prison in Alajuela, northwest of San José, prisoners seem to be scheming up more creative ways to smuggle contraband into the jail.

An inmate in the La Reforma penitentiary was found with three cellphones hidden in his anus.

The 40-year-old inmate inserted the cellphones into his rectum minutes before entering a medium-security section of La Reforma, authorities said.

Security Chief Víctor Abarca told the daily La Nacion that the phones were found when a metal detector tested positive near the inmate’s genital region, although no visible object could be seen. Authorities planned to take the prisoner to the San Rafael Hospital in Alajuela for an X-ray. However, the inmate confessed to hiding three phones in his anus and preferred to go to the bathroom to defecate before going to the hospital.

William Mora, deputy director of the Penitentiary Police, told La Nacion that they had confiscated 560 phones just in La Reforma so far this year. Each phone is sold at ȼ150,000 ($300) in the prison, Mora said.

After a failed escape attempt on May 11 that resulted in the death of two inmates and a guard, police tightened controls and performed regular searches in the jail (May 13, TT).

Authorities seized 12 more phones during a raid Monday, including an iPhone priced at more than ȼ400,000 ($800) and six phone chips. In the latest seizure, 136 sharp weapons, a firearm, 102 crack rocks, 65 liters of illegal liquor known as “chicha” and 250 grams of marijuana.

On Sunday, a dog from the police’s K9 unit detected three women with drugs hidden in their vagina. The women sought to enter the prison during visiting hours.

On June 30, in the closed medium security section, 580 weapons, a little more than ȼ3 million ($6000), 68 liters of “chicha,” 10 phones and 800 grams of drugs were seized.

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