Early Saturday morning, Costa Rican Drug Control and National Police raided a camp near Irazú Volcano, some 50 kilometers northeast of the capital, where they discovered an improvised heliport, nearly $50,000 in cash and five AK-47 assault rifles, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry.
Authorities believe the camp is related to another found in October six kilometers from the Nicaraguan border in San Carlos, because of two Honduran passports found at the latest site, and due to similarities in the class of weapons found, said Nicolás Aguilar, a spokesman for the Public Security Ministry, in an email to The Tico Times.
Little is known about the most recent camp at this time, discovered near Las Asturias, Pococí, in the Atlantic province of Limón. While police believe the two sites may be linked to drug trafficking, no drugs were found at either one.
Local residents notified the police of suspicious movements in the area, which led to the raid.
Suspects fired on police as they approached the site over the weekend, but no one was injured. The suspects fled into the rugged countryside, where rough conditions impaired police pursuit and several trucks were trapped in mud. There have been no arrests.
Besides cash and rifles, the ministry said police found a .38-caliber pistol, a revolver, a gas stove, mattresses, 31 full and 79 empty fuel containers, and a GPS device, among other items.
This is the second such camp discovered in Costa Rica in the last several months. At the beginning of October, Border Police in San Carlos discovered another site with an improvised heliport where they confiscated an RPG-7 rocket launcher and 15 assault rifles, including AK-47s and M16s.
In a statement from the earlier discovery in San Carlos, the ministry said “the weapons are new and therefore not part of the so-called ‘war caches’ from the 1980s, when several armed groups operated in the area during the war in Nicaragua.”
In today’s statement to The Tico Times, Aguilar said, “Some of the items found in Pococí lead authorities to believe there is a relation to [the site in] Los Chiles. We found Honduran uniforms and now two passports, plus [the similarity in] the type of weapons.”