Immigration Police have deported a total of 25 African nationals who had entered Costa Rica illegally in recent weeks on their way to the United States.
In the most recent arrest, four men from the northeastern African country of Eritrea were arrested in Liberia, Guanacaste, in northwestern Costa Rica, en route to Nicaragua.
The four men, all construction workers whose ages range from 26 to 35, are already back in their country in eastern Africa. Two of the men had identification cards from Italy and the other two from Malta.
Immigration Police Chief Francisco Castaing said in a statement that African migrants often first enter Italy illegally.
While their immigration status is being resolved, they are issued an ID card that permits them to travel through the European Union. They then travel from Italy to Spain, and from there to Costa Rica, with the ultimate goal of continuing north to the United States. Other routes include leaving Europe from Malta and entering Costa Rica by land, traveling from Venezuela and Panama.
Immigration officials believe the recent arrests indicate the existence of a network dedicated to transporting African nationals to the United States, according to a Public Security Ministry press release.