• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rica detains Syrian woman traveling on falsified Greek passport

November 19, 2015

Costa Rican authorities on Thursday detained a Syrian woman with a Greek passport, two days after five Syrian men were arrested in Honduras while attempting to travel to the United States on fake passports.

Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata told The Tico Times the woman is likely connected to the five Syrian migrants arrested in Honduras on Tuesday while carrying falsified Greek passports. 

Mata said the woman was detained in a hotel in the center of San José, Costa Rica’s capital. She had been staying at the hotel since arriving Tuesday.

“We received information today [Thursday] of a woman with the same physical description as a person who entered the country two days ago on a Greek passport. We have her in custody and are transferring her to the Prosecutor’s Office,” the minister told local Radio Monumental.

A ministry spokeswoman told AFP that police had been alerted to the woman’s presence here by the owner of the San José hotel. Her name has not yet been released to the press.

She will now be questioned by Interpol and Costa Rican authorities to determine if the Greek passport in her possession is fake or stolen.

On Tuesday, Honduran authorities arrested five Syrians intending to make it to the United States with stolen Greek passports, triggering alarm in the wake of the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists.

“Five Syrian citizens have been detained and will be taken to our offices to be investigated, because it is suspected they are carrying false documents, passports stolen in Greece,” a police spokesman, Anibal Baca, told reporters.

The Syrians were arrested as they flew into Toncontín International Airport in Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa, and failed to make it past airport security checks, Baca said.

They arrived in Honduras via El Salvador after spending six days from Nov. 11 to 17 in Costa Rica, Mata said. In Costa Rica, the men arrived on a flight from Argentina via Peru, and departed at Juan Santamaría International Airport outside San José, the daily La Nación reported, citing Immigration Director Kathya Rodríguez.

National Police Director Juan Jose Andrade told The Tico Times the woman also entered Costa Rica through Juan Santamaría International Airport on a flight from Peru.

Last Sunday, police in Paraguay arrested a seventh Syrian traveler with a falsified Greek passport, at the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, CNN en Español reported.

While investigations continue in all three Latin American countries, as well as Greece, with collaboration from the U.S. and Interpol, officials in both Paraguay and Honduras are treating the detainees as likely refugees fleeing the brutal Syrian civil war. So far, no evidence has been reported linking the seven Syrians to terrorist groups, CNN and news agency EFE reported.

You may be interested

Who was Juan Santamaría? Five (debated) things you should know
Juan Santamaría Day
5033 views
Juan Santamaría Day
5033 views

Who was Juan Santamaría? Five (debated) things you should know

JILL REPLOGLE - April 12, 2021

A version of this story first ran in 2015. Costa Rica feted its first and most-loved national hero, Juan Santamaría, on…

Saprissa equals longest winless streak in 35 years
Soccer
1523 views
Soccer
1523 views

Saprissa equals longest winless streak in 35 years

The Tico Times - April 12, 2021

Deportivo Saprissa drew 1-1 with Pérez Zeledón and reached eight consecutive games without a win in the Clausura 2021 soccer…

Costa Rica relocation/retirement guide book releases its 19th edition
News
8 views
News
8 views

Costa Rica relocation/retirement guide book releases its 19th edition

Tico Times - April 11, 2021

Long time Costa Rica citizen and Tico Times columnist, Christopher Howard, releases the 19th edition of his popular relocation/retirement guide Over…