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  HOME | Bolivia

Bolivian Judge Faces Charges for Releasing Police Commander in Drug Case

LA PAZ – A judge in the eastern Bolivian region of Santa Cruz faces charges for granting bail to a high-level police commander arrested while in possession of 42.7 kilos of cocaine, prosecutors said.

Judge Vivian Patricia Gonzalez will be prosecuted because she failed “to consider evidence presented by prosecutors at a preliminary hearing,” Santa Cruz Attorney General Gomer Padilla said in a statement.

Police Col. Juan Carlos Tapia, commander of the GACIP police support unit in the city of El Alto, was arrested on Friday at a house he owns in Santa Cruz, where investigators found 42.7 kilos of cocaine hidden in the ceiling.

Gonzalez helped Tapia by allowing him to “benefit from measures that substituted for preventive arrest” even though prosecutors objected, Padilla said.

The colonel was charged with trafficking in controlled substances and prosecutors asked the court to keep him in custody at the prison in Palmasola.

Prosecutors feel that they are “alone in this fight against drugs,” Padilla said.

This is not the first case this year involving a high-level police officer accused of involvement in drug trafficking in Bolivia.

Gen. Oscar Nina, former commander of the FELCN drug enforcement agency, was arrested in March on money laundering, illicit enrichment and other charges for his alleged links to Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.

Bolivia’s former drug czar, Gen. Rene Sanabria, was arrested in the United States in 2011 on charges that he conspired to smuggle cocaine.

 

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