Immigration agent one of two detained in probe of easy exits

Judicial agents detained two men Thursday and said that they both conspired to let individuals who had been forbidden to leave the county to exit at Paso Canoas. One of the detained men is an immigration agent.

The arrests were the result of a sting operation, said the Poder Judicial.

Judicial agents said that the immigration agent was detained at the office on the border with Panama. The second person, identified as a gavilán or facilitator, was detained in Ciudad Neily, they said.

The Poder Judicial identified the immigration agent by the last names of Granados Méndez. Judicial investigators said he was 27. The second man was identified by the Poder Judicial by the last names of Calderón Navarro. He is 28, said the Judicial agents.

There are many reasons why a person would be forbidden by a judge from leaving the country. One reason is if the individual owes child support money, called pensión alimentaria, or
because a judge has imposed travel restrictions in advance of a criminal trial. These are called medidas cautelares.

The Poder Judicial said that after the arrests agents confiscated $300 that an undercover operator had paid to Calderón.

The Poder Judicial said that the facilitator would seek out persons who had been denied an exit stamp at the border post. After obtaining money, the facilitator would ask that they rejoin the immigration line, investigators said. When the individual reached an agent, he would give a signal and the agent would know that the individual had made a payoff.

The men were in the cells of the Judicial Investigating Organization in San José Thursday night.

The case is being handled by a prosecutor in the office of Probidad, Transparencia y Anticorrupción.

The southern border is the scene of illegal entries and exits. In addition to persons who are not supposed to leave the country, there are those who seek to enter who are the subjects of arrest warrants. Readers have said that wanted individuals cross from and to Panamá seemingly without trouble.

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