- Photo via Ministry of Security -

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Published on Thursday, November 18, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers from the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela Province, detained a U.S. citizen, surnamed Hyman, as a money-trafficking suspect.

According to the police report, when the expat was about to leave the country and pass through the customs post, the officers detected suspicious content in his luggage.

Following the guidelines on suspected cargo, the officers of the Air Surveillance Service made a more detailed review of the contents of the expat's luggage, finding several packages with cash. Allegedly he did not declare the money to the checkpoint officers.

Officers found $15,498 in cash that was allegedly in the U.S. citizen’s suitcases, said the Ministry of Security in its statement.

The money was seized as part of the evidence in the case. The suspect was taken to the cells of the Public Ministry where he must face interrogation by agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization, and wait for a judge to order pre-trial measures against them for the charge of money trafficking.

According to Aeris, the company in charge of managing the airport, when travelers enter or exit the country, every citizen and tourist must declare all cash or securities they are carrying if the amount is equal to or greater than $10,000 or the equivalent in another currency. Authorities recommend for visitors review the rules for entering or leaving the country on the airport website.

This year $1,435,000 has been seized as money not reported by passengers while they were entering or leaving the country (by air, land, or sea). This quantity is more than double the money that was seized for the same crime last year, which was $563,000, said Michael Soto Rojas, Minister of Security.

The judicial agents call on the population to report any suspicion of money laundering or money trafficking to the confidential line 800-8000-645. Their bilingual agents can answer calls in English or Spanish.

This is the second case reported by the authorities this month, on the arrest of a U.S. citizen at the airport. In early November, an expat surnamed Moran, was arrested as suspected of having an arrest warrant.

Last month, a couple of Mexicans were detained at the airport on suspicion of hiding money taped to their bodies.

What is the reason for travelers to not report over $10,000?
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