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Costa Rica dismantles a trafficking network of Cuban migrants

February 25, 2020

Costa Rican authorities dismantled on Tuesday a network dedicated to the trafficking of Cuban migrants entering from Panama and intending to reach the United States or Mexico, the Directorate of Migration reported.

The network, run by Costa Ricans, charged about $400 to move Cubans from the border with Panama to Nicaragua, and $1,000 to $2,000 to continue to the United States.

Ramón Quirós, known as “El Mago”, the alleged leader of the organization, was arrested in southern Costa Rica, and several of his collaborators were arrested in the cities of Puntarenas, in the Central Pacific, and La Cruz, on the border with Nicaragua.

“The Cubans entered Panama legally, as tourists, and subsequently entered Costa Rica where the criminal organization housed them and moved them north on previously established routes to Mexico and the United States,” said Stephen Madden, director of the immigration police

The network mobilized migrants in private vehicles or public transport through different parts of the Costa Rican territory, where they were temporarily housed, until they were taken to Nicaragua by unregulated border accesses, the Migration Directorate said in a statement.

The investigation, initiated in 2018, allowed the identification of 28 Cubans transported through the network, although immigration authorities estimate that the total number of people affected would be much higher.

The detainees in the operation were handed over to the Prosecutor’s Office, which must determine whether it will raise criminal charges against them for trafficking in persons.

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