SUSPECTED pedophile ArthurKanev is expected to become the firstU.S. citizen extradited to Costa Rica toface a criminal trial, after a U.S. federaljudge in Florida cleared the way earlierthis month.He could arrive in Costa Rica as soonas next week, according to officials. Thejudge concluded Kanev’s extradition hearingon April 13.The suspect will be escorted to CostaRica to be judged on charges of providingdrugs to minors, corruption of minors, andhaving sexual relations with willing childrenages 12 to 15, according to ProsecutorMiguel Abarca, of the Prosecutor’s Officein Quepos.Clarencio Bolaños, head of the legaldepartment of the Ministry of ForeignAffairs, confirmed those are the chargesfor which the extradition was requested.KANEV, 57, signed a waiver of extradition,accepting that he will be extradited,according to Alejandro Cedeño, ConsulGeneral of the Costa Rican Embassy inWashington D.C., which is processing theextradition.Bruce Harris, director of the San Josébasedchildren’s rights advocacy organizationCasa Alianza, credited Costa Ricanauthorities for taking the initiative to extraditeKanev.“One more time we’re sending a signalto those who think they can come toCosta Rica and commit sex crimesagainst children and get away with it,”Harris said.KANEV is wanted in Costa Rica forthese alleged crimes against minors datingback to 1999, the year he was first arrestedin the Pacific port town of Quepos.Police discovered 280 homemade photographsof nude, provocatively posed girlswhose estimated ages ranged from 11 to 16(TT, Jan. 8, 1999). He was released on bail,then fled the country, Cedeño said.He was arrested in Florida in July 2003after more than two years of eluding CostaRican and international authorities after analert viewer of the U.S. television show“America’s Most Wanted” recognized hisimage.Casa Alianza played a role in Kanev’scapture when Harris coordinated the visitof America’s Most Wanted with a friend ofhis who works at the show, Harris said.“In Casa Alianza, we feel pleased withthe work we did to find him,” he added.AFTER the viewer’s tip-off, a sting totrap the ex-dentist was coordinatedbetween the Costa Rican Special Prosecutorfor Sex Crimes, Liliam Gómez, andthe Miami branch of the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation (TT, Aug. 1, 2003).Abby Tiger, one of the arresting officerswho attended the extradition hearing,told The Tico Times the case is now beforethe U.S. Department of Justice inWashington, D.C.“To me it’s personally satisfyingbecause we worked hard on the case. It’sup to Costa Rica now to convict him,”she said.The case is now waiting an officialorder from the U.S. Department of Justice,which will trigger the release of Kanev toCosta Rican custody. The suspect will thenbe brought to Costa Rica to face trial,Cedeño said.Although the extradition process is acomplicated one, Kanev could be turnedover to Costa Rican authorities in “a matterof days,” he added.Neither the U.S. Department of Justicenor the Costa Rica judicial system madeany official comment on the decision.COSTA Rican authorities suspectKanev lured poor young Costa Rican girlsinto his beach home with promises of ameal and a swimming pool before allegedlyproviding them with drugs, then photographingand sexually abusing them (TT,Aug. 1, 2003).He became internationally infamous inDecember 2000 when he was featured on atelevised “20/20” exposé about sexualexploitation of minors in Costa Rica, andtold the ABC reporter that he “had noqualms” about what he had done (TT, Dec.15, 2000).Tiger said they did surveillance on hisFlorida condominium for three weeks lastyear, from the time they received the tipuntil the arrest warrant came through fromCosta Rica.When the case was originally openedagainst Kanev, judicial proceedings werealso opened against his companion JoeCurtis Baker, who was arrested at the sametime.In April 2002, a Costa Rican courtfound Baker guilty of three counts of providingmarijuana to minors and sentencedhim to 24 years in prison.
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