Sunday, March 16, 2008

Apparent FARC cash uncovered in Costa Rica

Police officers entered the house in Heredia at around 12:25 p.m. (Photo: Alejamdro Sandino / La Nacion) By Gonzalo Guillen
El Nuevo Herald

BOGOTA - Tipped by the Colombian military, Costa Rican authorities found almost $500,000 believed to belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in an old safe in a house near the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

A Colombian judiciary source told El Nuevo Herald that information found in a FARC computer seized by the military in a raid to a jungle camp led to the discovery of the money in a house occupied since 1985 by a retired teacher and his wife.

The source said the discovery indicates that Costa Rica is still a strategic country for the rebels, who in 2001 tried to open a regional office in San Jose after their Mexico City base was shut down by the government.

In a computer belonging to late FARC leader Raul Reyes, Colombian police investigators found the name of Costa Rican teacher Francisco Gutierrez Perez, the amount of money -$480,000- he was supposed to be holding for the FARC and the address of the house.

Costa Rican authorities raided the house on Friday and found the money, the Colombian government confirmed. Gutierrez Perez and his wife, Cruz Prado Rojas, were not home.

Immigration authorities later said the couple had left the country on Feb. 14 bound for Mexico and Guatemala.

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