San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Drug trafficking

Golfito fishermen caught with 2 tons of cocaine show up for appeal, get 6 months preventive detention

Drug trafficking suspects Quirós Vásquez, Miranda Vásquez and Quirós Ledezma, during a May 13, 2014 appeal hearing in Golfito, southern Costa Rica.

The Tico Times

Last week, we reported on a curious story of three Costa Rican fishermen who were nabbed with almost two tons of cocaine near the southern Pacific port city of Golfito. Then-Public Security Minister Mario Zamora called the arrest “the most important [drug] seizure in years.” But 24 hours later, a Golfito judge had released the three suspects on their own recognizance, setting off a firestorm of criticism on social media networks.

Today, the three men, aged 26, 29 and 38 and with the last names Quirós Vásquez, Miranda Vásquez and Quirós Ledezma, showed up in court for an appeal filed by the Golfito Prosecutor’s Office over Judge Jeffrey Mora Sánchez’s previous decision to release them. This time, however, an appeals court handed down six months of preventive detention for all three suspects, citing the severity of the crime – which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence – and the fact that the men are a flight risk, living just 40 minutes from the Panama border.

An attorney representing the three men did not allow The Tico Times to speak with them at the hearing. We really wanted to ask them only one question: “Why didn’t you run?”



Contact David Boddiger at dboddiger@ticotimes.net54

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Judge Jeffrey Mora Sánchez should be right there next to them, with 6 months preventive detention. Maybe then these corrupt judges would be deterred from acting so negligently. Do people realize how many are now incarcerated for a gram of coke or a little weed? In prison for 8-15 years. It is a corrupt system, and clearly another indication of the failed war on drugs. Costa Rica has a new administration in power, they could be leaders in this much needed change of policy:

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