The police received an alert from the Ecuadorian Police Department about the suspicious content in the passenger’s luggage.
- Ministry of Security photo -

Published on Wednesday, July 21, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man U.S. citizen surnamed Collins, 57, was arrested at the Juan Santamaría International Airport, in Alajuela Province, on suspicion of international drug trafficking.

According to the report of the Drug Control Police, the case began on Monday, when the man entered the country from Ecuador. The police received an alert from the Ecuadorian Police Department about the suspicious content in the passenger’s luggage.

Allegedly, the man was carrying medical equipment, however, in a routine inspection, an unusual content was detected inside the black box where the device was packed.

Following the guidelines in case of suspected traffic of illegal substances, the police proceeded to carry out a more detailed search of the suitcases. Officers detected 11.1 kilos of cocaine in Collins luggage.

The Ministry of Security released a video of drug detection, which can be seen on the AM Costa Rica YouTube channel.

According to the police, the foreigner has no criminal record in the country. The man could not continue with his scheduled travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was arrested and taken before the Alajuela Prosecutor's Office where he is waiting for a judge to order pre-trial measures against him for the accusation of drug trafficking.

The police seized as evidence in the case: the drugs, his luggage and $95 that he was carrying in cash.

According to the U.S. Embassy, a consular officer visits an arrested U.S. citizen as soon as possible after being notified by Costa Rican authorities to ascertain the arrestee’s physical well-being and conditions of arrest, provide information on legal procedures, including a list of attorneys, and, if the prisoner wishes, notify family or friends. However, consular officers can't act as attorneys or legal representatives nor affect the release of arrested American citizens.

" If you are arrested, insist that the authorities notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. They are obligated to notify a U.S. consular officer of your arrest unless you ask that they not do so," said the Embassy in its statement.

In limited circumstances, consular officers can also serve as liaison between the person and his/her family and provide them with a list of local attorneys. "We can also assist the transfer of funds from your family or friends to pay attorneys’ fees and for your upkeep while incarcerated. If you are imprisoned for a lengthy period, a consular officer will visit you periodically, at least once every three to four months," added the Embassy.

This is the second case of a foreigner convicted of transporting cocaine this week.  The police arrested a Dutch citizen on suspicion of carrying two kilos of cocaine in his luggage.

Authorities call for people to report any suspicion of drug sales or trafficking to the confidential line 800-8000-645 or 11-76, where there are bilingual agents who can answer calls in English or Spanish.

Why do international tourists put themselves at risk of being jailed for trafficking drugs in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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