Housing a couple of prisoners proves to be complex

Finding housing of two prisoners has approached pure frustration as the judiciary seeks to comply with or overturn a judge’s order that the suspected international drug smugglers be transferred from cells to house arrest.

The judge temporarily rescinded that order Thursday after neighbors in Barrio Minerva in Guadalupe took to the streets to object to their new neighbors. The two men already had been declared unwelcome at a La Sabana apartment complex.

In the end, the pair, Rubén Martinez Trujillo, and Elvis Mendoza Rivera, were driven back from an afternoon hearing in a Pavas court to La Reforma prison. They at least own the air transport company that figured in the aborted shipment of some 200 kilos of cocaine. They have not yet gone to trial, and that was one of the reasons a judge, Kathya Jiménez Fernández, said they should be transferred to house arrest.

They have been jailed since Oct. 11.

That the neighbors were outraged and because the Guadalupe home proposed for the men was not secure figured in the judge’s latest decision. There also was concern that the home was near a school. And the security ministry said that the cost of guarding the men and keeping them in the house was excessive.

Meanwhile next week prosecutors are expected to ask for four more months of preventative detention for the pair.

The two Mexican men are not the only individuals the judiciary is having trouble housing. There is Libardo Parra, who is the subject of an arrest order in nearly every country in the world. He served time here for money laundering. Colombia wants to extradited him. He is a former anti-government guerrilla.

The trouble is that Colombia has already tried and sentenced him in absentia, which is something Costa Rica does not accept. Colombia refuses to try him again and no other nation will take him. He is languishing in the moderately secure immigration lockup in Hatillo after being in and out of court all year.

Investigators have said that Parra bankrolled the breakout attempt May 11 at la Reforma prison. Agents are working on the theory that the La Refoma fugitives, once free, were supposed to travel to Hatillo to blast their way into the immigration facility to free the Colombian. That is why there was a van parked near the prison loaded with weapons and explosives, they concluded.

There is yet another man that Costa Rican officials wish was not here. He is the copilot of the cocaine-filled plane owned by Martínez and Mendoza. The pilot died of injuries sustained when the plane crashed on takeoff at Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas. The copilot, who has the last name of Monzón, suffered critical injuries and has been running up bills of more than $200,000 in Hospital México.

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