Two National Police officers were detained this week after being accused of robbing foreigners, Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry confirmed Thursday.
The incident occurred in Garabito, a canton within Puntarenas province best known for housing the beach city of Jacó.
“We received an alert of people who had apparently been the victims of robbery on the part of the officials,” said Rodrigo Alfaro, the regional assistant director for National Police in the Central Pacific.
According to the daily La Nación, two officers with surnames Falcón and Faerron allegedly picked up the victims in downtown Jacó, robbed them of about $400 and their cell phones, and dropped them off at nearby Clarita Beach.
Alfaro said that upon learning of the allegations, his team immediately communicated with the officials’ supervisors and with the prosecutor’s office. The two National Police officers were then detained.
“They are being investigated at this moment by the Garabito prosecutor’s office,” Alfaro said.
Know your rights
Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Costa Rican authorities are required to send any communication you address to your country’s embassy or consular office. While an embassy cannot investigate crimes, it will connect you with resources that can.
Global Affairs Canada, a branch of the Government of Canada, provided an overview of Costa Rica’s criminal law system for visitors:
You cannot be held in detention longer than 24 hours without a court order. In most cases, only a prosecutor can order the continued detention of an individual. During the arrest, all personal items, including travel documents, are held in custody by the authorities. You will be informed of your rights, including the right:
- to know the cause of your detention, the name of the officer that requested it, and be shown the warrant issued against you;
- to immediately inform the person or institution of your choice that you have been arrested and detained;
- to be assisted from the beginning of the proceedings by the lawyer of your choice, otherwise by a public defender;
- to be presented to the prosecutor (from the office of the prosecutor or Ministerio Público) or the court (tribunal), and to be informed of the acts you are alleged to have committed;
- to remain silent. In case you decide to make a statement, you have the right to have your lawyer present when you do so;
- not to undergo any technique or method that could induce or alter your free will or undermine your dignity; and
- not to be subject to any means that impair your free movement, other than those restrictions ordered by the prosecutor or court.
The United States Embassy recommends that victims of a crime contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, report the incident to local police and request a copy of the ensuing police report.
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