A.M. Costa Rica
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 60
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Weekend sport events hit the waves and the field
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Professional surfers are ready to hit the waves following a two month hiatus and Costa Rica’s national soccer team prepares for what is being called an epic battle against México tonight at 7:50.

If expats do not already know the importance of this game for many Costa Rican soccer fans, they are sure to learn tonight as aficionados become glued to their television screens, and the match’s results could either make or break a night for fans rooting for Costa Rica across the entire country.

The match tonight represents the third round of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. This is a qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association touts this match as Costa Rica’s toughest competitor yet. More so that the game will be played on México’s home turf in the Estadio Azteca.

Currently, Costa Rica is first in the confederation rankings with an undefeated record of two wins, no losses or ties. México ranks right behind with one win so far and one tie with no losses, according to the rankings. The United States is in last place with two losses by comparison.

After two months of no official surf competitions, the national circuit is about to begin again this coming Saturday morning in Limón’s Puerto Viejo. More than the competition, however, the second date in this year’s surfing season only leads to one place: the World Cup in France.

Thursday, the Federación de Surf made the
Surf's Up!
Federación de Surf photo
Top surfers are expected at Playa Cocles.

call to the first group of surfers in the national pre-selection. These are the surfers that the federation deemed to be at the highest level in the country, according to organizers for the Circuito Nacional.

Wikipedia photo
Soccer team's logo.
This weekend, the competition will be at Playa Cocles and organizers believe that the waves will be at shoulder height to help surfers get the highest score as much as bragging rights.

The competition will begin at 7 in the morning on Saturday and Sunday.

Later on Saturday night, the Hotel La Costa de Papito will be hosting live music free of charge to all those who want to attend.

U.S. citizen under investigation for alleged fraud
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S citizen and a Costa Rican politician are under judicial investigation for an alleged fraud involving the sale of fake permits to grow marijuana for medical purposes.

The complaint was filed on March 8, in Garabito, Puntarenas, by an Israeli man and his Costa Rican wife. In it, they describe that a man named Frank Reeves and his partner, Gerald Murray, supposedly charged them $25,000 for a false certificate that would allow them to grow marijuana for health related purposes until 2020.

According to the complaint, the couple was first approached by a third man via email who affirmed he worked for a company named GreenLeaf Holdings Technologies. That person also claimed that as of December 2016, Costa Rica would approve the legalization of the plant and the permits would cost as much as $1 million.

To get the money, Reeves and Murray apparently opened up a bank account under the name of their company and asked the payment to be split into several deposits. According to Costa Rica regulations, any deposit or withdrawal exceeding $10,000 must be declared before fiscal authorities.

In exchange, the accused parties would have given the investors paperwork similar to that used by Ministerio de Salud, and it was allegedly signed by María Esther Anchía, the vice minister for health.

The document also granted the possibility to grow up to 300,000 marihuana plants.

The document also reads that most of the negotiations took place in Jacó in the province of Puntarenas.

The Poder Judicial confirmed a criminal complaint has been filed.

A.M. Costa Rica tried to contact Frank Reeves, but he was unreachable and apparently out of the country.

In the case of Murray, he refused to talk.  Murray did release a statement on his Facebook page. There, he denies all the charges and says he will sue the people who spread rumors.

He also implied that the only company in Costa Rica with a permit to process cannabis could be in charge of destroying his reputation.

Murray has been involved in the writing of a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. That bill is currently under discussion in the legislature. Last year, Murray also announced that he will seek a presidential candidacy for the 2018 elections.

The bill No. 19.256 would also allow citizens to grow cannabis for personal, and industrial purposes.

So far, the bill is under discussion in committee for examination at the Asamblea Legislativa. Once an agreement is reached on the draft, it will be discussed by the 57 lawmakers.

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