San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Alleged prisoner-led drug ring dismantled in Limón

Eight people were arrested Thursday in the eastern Limón province on suspicion of their involvement in a drug-trafficking organization headed by a prison inmate.

The five men and three women detained were thought to be participating in a drug operation run by Raymundo Medrano, who is serving a preventive prison sentence at the Institutional Detention Center in Sandoval, Limón, according to a press release by the Public Security Ministry. Drugs allegedly were smuggled into the prison where they were sold among inmates. Medrano was arrested in October for possession of 1,710 grams of cocaine. He served five years and four months in prison for drug-trafficking charges from 2002-2007.

On Thursday morning, the Drug Control Police raided eight homes and in the Limón province towns of Cristóbal Colón (Cieneguita), Limoncito and Penshurt, and confiscated 1-kilogram of cocaine, cash, a .38-caliber revolver and 31 bullets for an AK-47. They also reported finding documentation that served as evidence of the drug network.

It is thought that several women were recruited and paid to smuggle drugs into the jail, often storing packages of crack, cocaine and marijuana in their vaginas to evade prison security. The drugs then were managed and distributed by a prisoner who took orders from Medrano. 

Medrano’s wife and son were also arrested. They were thought to operate the drug ring from their home. Medrano’s wife, whose last name is Paddyfoot, works as a teacher at a Limón public school in Pacuare, where she is a first-grade teacher.

Preventive prison sentences are expected for the arrested parties.

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