Four suspected human traffickers, or “coyotes,” were arrested last week at a checkpoint in the southern Caribbean town of Tuba Creek, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.
Police arrested the alleged coyotes May 13 at a checkpoint near the Panamanian border between Limón and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, where all vehicles must stop for police to check the driver’s and passengers’ identification, and sometimes search their luggage.
The first arrest came in the early morning after police stopped a car that contained four Colombian passengers traveling to Limón. Upon becoming suspicious about their immigration status, Border Police interrogated them and gleaned that they flew from their country to Panama. There, they allegedly contacted a coyote, crossed the Río Sixaola by boat and entered Costa Rica, the statement said. Police believe they each paid about $1,700 to make this journey.
Later that morning, two alleged coyotes – one identified by the last name Brooks and the other a 16-year-old whose name was not released – were arrested when they allegedly tried to smuggle a 39-year-old Colombian man into Costa Rica, the statement said.
Another alleged coyote identified by the last name Rosales, a native of Tuba Creek, was stopped by police a few hours later and arrested for allegedly helping an ex-member of the Colombian government’s Special Forces to enter Costa Rica illegally.