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Allegedly, the gang leader contacted the other men and they found vacant places where the pipelines were underground.
 - Judicial Investigation Organization photo -

Gang arrested in fuel robbery investigation

Published Thursday, April 22, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Wednesday, agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization arrested an alleged gang of 20 men suspected of stealing fuel from the state pipeline.

According to the agents' report, the case began in January 2020 when fuel robbery was detected from pipelines located in the districts of Cervantes, San Blas, Tres Ríos in Cartago Province and also, in Puntarenas Province.

It is alleged that the suspects, all Costa Rican men between the ages of 19 and 44, committed the crime between January and February 2020, when at least 15 fuel extractions happened right from the pipelines owned by the Refineria Costarricense de Petroleo, Recope.
Allegedly, the gang leader contacted the other men and they found vacant places where the pipelines were underground. They managed to drill down to the pipe and extract fuel.

"They managed to extract fuel and transport it to a warehouse, then they sell it to other people," said Walter Espinoza, director of the Judicial Investigation Organization.

Some of the suspects were arrested after several raids on their homes located in the cantons of Ujarrás, Paraíso, Taras, Turrialba and Tres Ríos, these in Cartago Province. Other suspects were detained in Limón Province.

In addition to the arrests, officers seized cars, oversized fuel containers, equipment, and tools as part of the evidence in the case.

The suspects were taken to the cells of the Public Ministry where they were interrogated by the judicial agents and after that, they must wait until a judge orders the pre-trial measures against them.

The judicial agents call on the population to report any suspicion of theft of fuel from the state pipelines to the confidential line 800-8000-645, where there are bilingual agents who can answer calls in English or Spanish.

Should authorities build protective structures over pipelines to prevent robberies? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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