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HomeCrimeCorruptionPolice officers suspected of robbing tourists under investigation by OIJ, MSP

Police officers suspected of robbing tourists under investigation by OIJ, MSP

Two National Police officers who are suspected of robbing foreigners in Jacó remain under investigation by Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry (MSP) and Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

The officers, whose surnames are Falcón and Faerron, were accused of picking up the victims in downtown Jacó, robbing them of about $400 and their cell phones, and dropping them off at nearby Clarita Beach.

The victims reported the incident to other police officers, and the situation was immediately escalated, according to Rodrigo Alfaro, the regional assistant director for National Police in the Central Pacific.

According to a statement from MSP, the Garabito Prosecutor’s Office has asked for assistance from OIJ to further investigate the allegations.

Jacó is the largest city and the capital of the canton of Garabito, Puntarenas.

“The Garabito Prosecutor’s Office requested the Judicial Investigation Police to carry out several investigative measures to determine the veracity of the facts that are circulating,” MSP said in a statement. “The allegations have not been entered as a formal criminal complaint […] and for this reason, we cannot comment further on the case.”

A spokesperson for MSP told The Tico Times that the organization is also opening an investigation “to determine if the officers committed any fault and, if so, to proceed with the appropriate disciplinary sanctions at the administrative level.”

MSP says that if police suspect an individual of committing a crime, the individual may be detained.

You cannot be detained for longer than 24 hours without a court order, according to Global Affairs Canada, a branch of the Government of Canada. During the arrest, you have 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.

If you are a foreigner and detained in Costa Rica, authorities are required to send any communication you address to your country’s embassy or consular office. The United States Embassy in Costa Rica recommends you do so “immediately” if you are arrested:

“A consular officer visits an arrested U.S. citizen as soon as possible after being notified by Costa Rican authorities to ascertain the arrestee’s physical well-being and conditions of arrest, provide information on legal procedures, including a list of attorneys, and, if the prisoner wishes, notify family or friends. However, consular officers CANNOT act as attorneys or legal representatives nor affect the release of arrested American citizens.

“If you are arrested, insist that the authorities notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. They are obligated to notify a U.S. consular officer of your arrest unless you ask that they not do so. In limited circumstances, consular officers can also serve as liaison between you and your family and provide you with a list of local attorneys. We can also assist the transfer of funds from your family or friends to pay attorneys’ fees and for your upkeep while incarcerated. If you are imprisoned for a lengthy period, a consular officer will visit you periodically, at least once every three to four months.” 

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