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Two Costa Rican men arrested for smuggling eight Nepalese migrants

July 23, 2013

Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested two Costa Rican men in Puntarenas for attempting to smuggle eight Nepalese migrants to the Nicaraguan border.

OIJ agents arrested the two men near Quebrada Ganado, a town near the Pacific coast of Golfo Nicoya on Friday. OIJ believed the two had planned to deliver eight Nepalese men – who had crossed illegally into Costa Rica by land – to the Nicaraguan border, in an attempt to get into the United States. Police reported finding the migrants in a nearby beach and are now keeping them in a witness and victim protection program.

Public Security Ministry Commissioner Rigoberto Rodríguez described a police pursuit up the Pacific Coast, ending in the capture of the suspects and the Nepalese migrants at Tivives beach.

“Despite the flight, the officers followed the suspects,” Rodríguez said in a statement. “In an instant, one of the three vehicles made a U-turn. Our patrol made a half turn in the same direction, without losing the men’s trail, and made the arrest in Tivives, Puntarenas.”

Authorities identified the suspects by their last names, Corea, 43, and Lara, 20. On Saturday, a Puntarenas court ordered Corea to six months of preventive detention while he awaits trial. Corea had been sought for arrest and had previous human and drug trafficking sentences, according to the daily La Nación. The men could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of trafficking immigrants.

The Nepalese migrants are in custody of the Prosecutor’s Office for witnesses and victims of crime, but eventually the Immigration Administration will decide whether they return to Nepal or stay in Costa Rica.

Oddly, this is not the only case of migrants from the distant central Asian country in Costa Rica. Four Nepalese men went missing on July 13 after coming at the invitation of the University of Costa Rica. The men arrived on July 10 and have yet to be found.

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