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- Photo via Judicial Investigation Organization -

U.S. citizen arrested in Costa Rica

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Published on Wednesday, March 20, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The International Police agents (Interpol) apprehended a male U.S. citizen, surnamed Hank (32) who has been sought on an international warrant for narcotics trafficking. 

According to the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), the suspect Red Notice was issued by the United States. 

The authorities arrested him on Tuesday while he was ready to flee the county at the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela Province.

The suspect was transferred to the Immigration Apprehension Center in San José, where he is waiting for the extradition procedure to the United States to be completed.

According to the U.S. Embassy, a consular officer visits an arrested U.S. citizen 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," the Embassy noted in its statement.

If a U.S. citizen is arrested, Costa Rican authorities should notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. They are obligated to notify a U.S. consular officer of the arrest unless the individual asks that they not do so. 

"In limited circumstances, consular officers can also serve as liaisons between you and your family and provide you with a list of local attorneys," they added. 

The Embassy officers can also assist with the transfer of funds from family or friends to pay attorneys’ fees and for the suspect 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, " they noted.

This is one of many cases of foreign citizens arrested in Costa Rica.  Recently, a male Belgian citizen identified as Gilles (62), was arrested as the primary suspect in the murder of his girlfriend.

As of February, Costa Rica has deported 150 foreign people, according to statistics from the General Directorate of Migration.


Last year closed with almost 1,000 foreigners deported, according to statistics from Migration. This figure is a 47% increase over the 664 individuals deported in 2022.

What have you heard about expats being detained in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com