San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Six arrested in border road investigation

Agents from the Judicial Investigation Police on Wednesday arrested six people on suspicion of embezzlement during the construction of a road parallel to the Río San Juan on the border with Nicaragua.

Those arrested include former director of the National Roadway Council (CONAVI), Carlos Acosta, the two engineers responsible for oversight of the project, Manuel Serrano and Miguel Ramírez, and contractors Giovani Baralis, David Castillo and Johnny Muñoz. They were questioned by prosecutors on Wednesday.

Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría requested preventive prison for the detainees and confirmed that more arrests or raids are not ruled out. “These acts can be characterized as organized crime, therefore we can ask for them to remain custody,” he said.

Chavarría explained that the investigation includes not only contractors. “We’re also investigating government institutions. … We have receipts and a video of a party where millions were spent,” he added.

The border road, or Route 1856, is a 160-kilometer road parallel to the San Juan River, and was inaugurated by President Laura Chinchilla in February.

In May, Chinchilla denounced alleged corruption in the contracting procedures and called for the resignation of former Public Works and Transport Minister Francisco Jiménez, CONAVI’s regional director, Manuel Serrano, and other officials.

Contact L. Arias at

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