Mayor, vice mayor, police chief in Jacó detained in probe

Mayor Marvin Elizondo Codero

Anti-corruption investigators raided the Garabito municipal building in Jacó Wednesday and detained four persons, including the mayor, vice mayor and chief of the municipal police. A fifth person, a lawyer, was detained at his office in Puntarenas.

The five were taken to San José for formal interrogations. The Poder Judicial said that the possible charges included embezzlement, illegal enrichment, fraud and faking documents.

The mayor is Marvin Elizondo Codero. The vice mayor is Tobías Murillo Rodriguez. The police chief is Juan Gabriel Hidalgo Hernández. Also detained in Jacó was a woman purchasing agent with the last names of Schmidt Quesada, according to the Poder Judicial. The lawyer who was detained was identified by the last names of Vargas Zeledón.

This is the second time in less that two weeks that anti-corruption agents targeted a municipality. Three officials in Golfito were detained July 30.

The raid in Jacó took place shortly after 9 a.m.

Expats who live in the Pacific beach town expressed shock and surprise. Jacó, the main city in Garabito canton, is best known as the beach town closest to San José and with a colorful nightlife.

The case is being handled by the Fiscalía Adjunta de Probidad, Transparencia y Anti-corrupción.

The charges involved a payment for professional services for a special training course for the municipal police in 2008, said the Poder Judicial. The training never took place despite a payment of 6 million colons or about $12,000, said the Poder Judicial, quoting the prosecutor involved in the case. The payment was made to the lawyer, said the Poder Judicial.

The prosecutor was not expected to ask that a judge jail the suspects but that they should be ordered to comply with certain restrictions, such as signing in with investigators once every 15 days and staying away from the municipal building.

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