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Limón judge accused of conspiring with drug traffickers back behind bars

June 11, 2014

Judge Rosa Elena Gamboa is back in jail.

Arrested on May 16 for allegedly aiding drug traffickers by issuing favorable rulings and pressuring other judges to be lenient on drug suspects, Gamboa, 62, was released on her own recognizance soon after her arrest. The Tico Times previously reported that the judge was ordered to report once every 15 days to a court in the Caribbean slope town of Siquirres and to not the leave the country. She also was suspended from her job and is prohibited from contacting witnesses and entering the Limón tribunals, where she worked.

The Prosecutor’s Office appealed those preventive measures, and a criminal court in the San José canton of Goicoechea agreed. On Tuesday, the court reversed the previous ruling and ordered Gamboa to serve three months preventive detention.

Update Thursday, June 5:

The Prosecutor’s Office told The Tico Times that they appealed the original precautionary measures because they believed Gamboa to be a flight risk. On Wednesday, the court clarified that Gamboa had been suspended without pay as part of the investigation.

Original post continues here:

The Prosecutor’s Office had been investigating Gamboa for three years over several questionable rulings in cases involving alleged drug traffickers. Among her actions, prosecutors say the judge allegedly reversed lower court rulings on preventive measures and pressured coworkers to keep drug traffickers out of jail.

One of those cases is a known drug trafficker from Nicaragua, Ruadán Zamora Valerio, who was arrested in 2012 with a ton of marijuana and later released on a ₡3 million ($5,500) bond. Zamora skipped bail and is now a fugitive. The Tico Times reported on the case just weeks ago.

According to Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría, the Prosecutor’s Office accuses Gamboa of intervening in Zamora’s case – and others – and reversing a lower court judge’s ruling on preventive measures.

“[Gamboa] maintains relationships with people involved in drug trafficking in the region, and she has tried on at least two occasions to influence judges in the preliminary and intermediary phases of trials. In both cases, [Gamboa] approached the judges and quite openly told them the suspects should not go to jail,” Chavarría said in a press conference following the May raid.

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