Judiciary gets another black eye with corruption case arrest

In a major embarrassment for the judicial system, agents detained a criminal prosecutor in Limón on the allegation that the man accepted a bribe to allow a murder case to expire.

Jorge Chavarría, the nation’s chief prosecutor, was there for the arrest and stripped the man of his credentials. Then agents transported the man to San José where he was to be questioned.

The suspect was identified by the last names of Ortíz Sandí by the Poder Judicial.

The arrest comes in a month when a judge freed seven juveniles accused of terrorizing their home barrio with extortion and threats and another judge freed three persons accused of money laundering. In both cases, the judges were critical of the paperwork that has been presented. Two of the juveniles were detained just a few days later on a new robbery allegation.

Chavarría, himself, has been under criticism for ordering a halt to an interrogation days before he actually took over
the top prosecutor’s job. The suspect is the former minister of the Presidencia, Rodrigo Arias Sánchez, the brother of the former president.

According to the Poder Judicial, Ortiz is accused of hiding a judicial file relating to the murder case of a man identified by the last names of Smith West.

The allegation is that he took 500,000 colons to do so. That is a bit more than $1,000.

The case against Smith began June 29, 2009, and it was shelved last Jan. 9. Smith is now in preventative detention on an attempted murder allegation. He was originally accused of the contract killing of a Jamaican man Dec. 30, 2007.

The Poder Judicial said the investigation of Ortiz began in March. Ortiz began working for the judiciary in November 2003. In 2008, the Poder Judicial said he was named an assistant prosecutor in Limón in 2008 and began as trial prosecutor April 12, 2010.

Officials are expected to seek preventative detention against Ortiz.

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