U.S. man arrested for illegal gold mining in Corcovado National Park
Police arrested two men — including a U.S. citizen — in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park last week during a ground mission to expel illegal hunters and gold miners from the renowned nature sanctuary. The suspect identified as a U.S. citizen had the last name Knight. The other man, identified with the last name Ruiz, was Costa Rican.
According to the Public Security Ministry, the men were caught in the park’s Ajugas River operating a large water pump. The water pumps are often used by more sophisticated mining operations to wash away land and uncover gold.
Authorities estimate that approximately 400 gold miners regularly enter Corcovado, which is widely considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
High gold prices and lax regulations have led to an influx of illegal miners and hunters into the park in the last several years. Hunting and mining has damaged the park’s territory and has had devastating effects on the local jaguar population.
The Environment Ministry has teamed up with law enforcement to fend off the invasion.
Both Knight and Ruiz were transferred to the prosecutor’s office in Golfito, but are now free pending an investigation. If charged with illegal gold mining, the men could face up to five years in prison.
You may be interested
Central America begins ban to protect lobsterAFP and The Tico Times - February 27, 2021
Countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic on Monday will begin a ban to protect the Caribbean spiny lobster…
Costa Rica authorizes AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19The Tico Times - February 27, 2021
Costa Rican health authorities on Friday authorized the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19, based on the endorsement of…
Nearly 100 locations now offer antigen tests for travelers in Costa RicaAlejandro Zúñiga - February 26, 2021
Several countries, including the United States, require that returning travelers test negative for the coronavirus. More than 100 labs in…