At the airport checkpoint, where the contents of the travelers' suitcases are reviewed, the police detected more than 130 butterflies already dissected
inside the luggage of the two men. - Ministry of Security photo -
Published on Monday, July 19, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Police officers from the Juan Santamaría International Airport, in Alajuela Province, arrested two Guatemalan citizens on suspicion of trafficking wild species.
According to the police, the case began when the two men surnamed Marroquín, 48, and Parada, 42, were about to leave the country.
At the airport checkpoint, where the contents of the travelers' suitcases are reviewed, the police detected more than 130 butterflies already dissected inside the luggage of the two men.
According to the police, during the first interrogation, both men did not have permits to take the insects out of the country.
They were taken to the cells of the Public Ministry where they were interrogated by judicial agents, and then must wait for a judge to order the pre-trial measures against them as suspects of wildlife animal trafficking.
Trading or capturing wild animals for captivity is a crime in Costa Rica.
Wild flora and fauna are protected by Wildlife Conservation Law No. 7317. According to the law, those who are found guilty of keeping wild animals will be fined between $1,400 and $2,800. In the case of wild animals in danger of extinction or with small populations, these fines could be higher.
Under the law, any person who is found responsible for committing an environmental or wildlife crime could face a prison sentence of one year.
Agents of the National Animal Health Service ask for people to report any suspicion of captivity or trade of wild animals to the 911 line.
In May, a similar case occurred when a U.S. citizen was arrested for allegedly trafficking an alligator head.
What have you heard of expats trafficking wild animals from Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com