Published Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Police seize 26,000-plus units of illegal gunpowder
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
During the development of the Safe December campaign, of the Ministry of Security, 26,950 units of products made with gunpowder have been seized.
The most recent case happened on Sunday, during a patrol operation in Los Chiles Distric, Alajuela Province, near the border with Nicaragua.
According to the police report, a Nicaraguan man, surnamed Rodriguez, residing in Costa Rica entered the country carrying 4,800 units of explosive gunpowder in his carry-on luggage. Allegedly those products were not reported to customs at the time of crossing the border.
The police seized the gunpowder as part of the evidence against the suspect, who was taken to the Public Ministry, where he must wait for a judge to dictate pre-trial measures against him as suspected of entering the country with illegal gunpowder.
On Saturday, the police seized 1,900 units of products made with gunpowder during a control operation that took place in Upala Canton, Alajuela Province, near the border with Nicaragua.
A Nicaraguan woman, surnamed Rojas, carried several products made with gunpowder, which she had allegedly bought in Nicaragua, police said in its report.
In a similar way to the previous case, the gunpowder products were seized and the woman was taken before the authorities of the Public Ministry where she must wait for the pre-trial orders issued by a judge.
On Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, police reported the seizure of one of the largest shipments of illegal gunpowder.
The case began with an anonymous call about an illicit shipment of gunpowder that had allegedly entered the country from Nicaragua to the area of San Carlos Canton, Alajuela Province.
The police proceeded with a road control operation in the area, where a vehicle was detected with the cargo of 17,000 units of products made with gunpowder.
The driver was identified as a Costa Rican, surnamed Guillen who could not justify the origin of the products.
The cargo was seized and the man was arrested and taken to the Public Ministry, where he must wait for the judge to order pre-trial measures against him for being suspected of transporting illegal gunpowder.
That same night, in another police operation, in Los Chiles Canton, also Alajuela Province, another man was arrested for carrying 3,520 units of products made with gunpowder.
The gunpowder was seized and the suspect surnamed Hernandez, was transferred to the Public Ministry, as the same as the previous cases.
According to the Ministry of Security, the Costa Rican Arms and Explosives Law prohibits unregistered products made with gunpowder to enter the country. The law orders confiscation of all products made with illegal gunpowder. And seven years in prison as penalty if found guilty of producing or trafficking the illegal product.
Security authorities are calling on the public to report directly to 911 for any suspicion of sales of illegal products made with gunpowder in their communities.
This month the police announced the Christmas and New Year Eve surveillance plan.
The plan includes 4,700 surveillance operations with 654 traffic officers, 190 patrols, 36 cranes, 196 motorized officers, 14 posts with gas measuring equipment, among others, are set to monitor the streets, police said.
Among the main routes to be monitored are from the city to the beach or countryside, which becomes the most traffic roads during the holidays. Among these are the Inter-American Highway which crosses the country from the border with Panama to the border with Nicaragua, Route 32 from San José Province to Limón Province, Route 27 from San José Province to Puntarenas.
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