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Seven arrested in Costa Rica for bomb attacks

October 22, 2019

Seven members of a Costa Rican gang accused of carrying out two bomb attacks at the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly and on a television channel were arrested Tuesday in a series of raids in Cartago, authorities said.

The director of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), Walter Espinoza, said the group is believed to be responsible for the June 26 placement of an explosive at the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly, where it caused minor damage to the office of a congressperson.

OIJ also suspects the detainees were responsible for an explosive placed at the headquarters of Teletica, one of the most popular television stations in the country.

In the raids, 20 km from San José, OIJ found explosive equipment and devices similar to those used in the two attacks.

The attacks, which did not cause any injuries, occurred during times of social tension in Costa Rica. At the time, public workers were striking against the enforcement of new fiscal policy, which includes tax increases and cuts to the benefits of public employees.

Espinoza detailed that OIJ officials found pyrotechnic bombs, fire extinguishers, timers, black powder and potassium nitrate — used to increase the power of explosives — while searching the residences.

Among the detained is a public school teacher suspected of authoring a viral audio message in which she called for a violent uprising against the government and media.

Attorney General Emilia Navas said that the six men arrested may face charges for explosives crimes, which carry sentences of five to 10 years in prison, and for the manufacture or possession of explosives, with sentences of four to eight years.

The teacher may face terrorism charges, which carry sentences of six to 10 years in prison.

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