580 knives seized in Costa Rican prison

San Jose, July 01: A total of 580 knives, many homemade, as well as drugs, liquor and cash were seized Thursday by Costa Rican authorities at the La Reforma prison, the country’s main such facility.

In all, police seized more than $6,000 in cash from the prisoners, 68 litres of liquor, 10 cell phones and 800 grams of drugs such as crack and marijuana, Justice Vice Minister Fernando Ferrero told reporters.

According to Ferrero, the operation came within the framework of the measures being taken to strengthen prison security after an escape attempt May 11 in which one guard and two prisoners died.

Thursday’s raid at La Reforma, which is located about 20 km northwest of San Jose, was participated in by some 1,000 agents or officials from different jurisdictions and lasted several hours.

Among the items found in the prisoners’ cells were weapons fashioned from cigarette lighters or cell phone carriers.

Regarding the liquor, authorities found it hidden in old soda bottles and even in buckets, since the prisoners had been manufacturing that type of beverage inside their cells using yeast, grated carrots and even dirty clothing or worms to quicken the process.

“People’s ingenuity is incredible, but unfortunately they’re using it for bad purposes and not for anything constructive,” said Security Vice Minister Walter Navarro.