Cartago prison yields a minor junkyard of metal objects

Searchers found all sorts of metal objects, including a stapler and several pairs of scissors, during a sweep of the prison in Cartago. Photo: Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública/Paul Gamboa

A surprise shakedown of the Centro Penitenciario Cocorí in Cartago produced a large quantity of weapons, including a piece of rebar several feet long honed to a sharp point.

The Fuerza Pública, the Policía Penitenciaria, the Unidad Especial de Apoyo and the Unidad Canina, the dog unit, conducted the surprise weekend search. They also found 40 doses of crack cocaine and a charger for a cell telephone battery.

The haul is similar to what searchers found at a prison in Puntarenas last month. That raid followed the death of an inmate from an improvised dagger.

The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública said there were no disturbances from inmates during the search.
Shakedowns of prisons have become more common since the May 11 attempted breakout at the La Reforma maximum security facility in San Rafael de Alajuela.

Hernando París, minister of Justicia y Paz, visited the prison wing Monday after some 49 million colons (about $97,100) were invested to repair the damage caused during the breakout attempt.

Three persons, including a prison guard, died.

The high security alert that has been in force has been lifted after the repairs were done, said officials. Still the prison is being investigated for alleged mistreatment by guards.

One of the ring leaders of the breakout attempt died in his cell several days after the failed attempt, and that has prompted a change in guards and a close look by the Judicial Investigating Organization.

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