Colombia’s prosecution on Wednesday arrested the second Bogota prison director in less than six months. Both men have been accused of corruption.
The latest Bogota prison director to be taken to court is Cesar Augusto Ceballos who was in charge of La Modelo prison. In September, authorities arrested the director of La Picota, the city’s largest prison complex.
According to Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez, who has been accused of corruption and tax evasion, the director of La Modelo charged inmates to allow the entry of drugs, cell phones, weapons, liquor and even perfume.
Additionally, Ceballos introduced a class system that allegedly allowed wealthy prisoners better living conditions and security, according to the chief prosecutor.
Once a detainee entered La Modelo prison, the director immediately undertook a socioeconomic study and allocated a cell block. In courtyard three those who had greater economic power were located and they had to pay 3 million pesos ($950) to be there and if they did not comply they were transferred and were allegedly not guaranteed safety.
Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez
Apart from the director, prosecution agents arrested the La Modelo’s chief warden, the director’s driver, a prisoner who was allegedly in charge of collecting extortion payments and bribes, and a woman who allegedly owned a storage facility for drug and weapons near the prison.
The arrest is only the latest scandal to unfold in the country’s corruption-ridden and overcrowded prison system.
The chief prosecutor and Justice Minister Gloria Maria Borrero announced measures in September, but are facing an uphill battle as much of Colombia’s justice system is corrupt, which is crippling effective investigations.