Police arrest Costa Rica-bound US family for smuggling $45,000 in suitcases

February 28, 2014

Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested three U.S. travelers suspected of money laundering at Juan Santa María International Airport outside San José on Thursday afternoon. Police discovered more than $45,000 in unclaimed cash hidden in the travelers’ suitcases.

OIJ officials said they received an anonymous tip that a group of foreign tourists would try to enter the country with large amounts of cash. Authorities detained the suspects at 1:30 p.m. after they deplaned from a flight from Miami, Florida.

Police arrested a 41-year-old woman with the last name Maypee, her 21-year-old daughter with the last name Figueroa, and her 18-year-old son, also with the last name Figueroa. The three carried the money in various denominations wrapped in envelopes hidden in their suitcases, according to a statement from OIJ. They did not claim the cash upon entering Costa Rica or leaving Miami.

Authorities charged the three with illegally transporting money across a border. Travelers may enter Costa Rica with up to $10,000 without reporting it, OIJ spokesman Marco Monge said.

The apparent money mules traveled with a 17-year-old minor, another son of Maypee, who was remanded to the Child Welfare Office.

This is the second large money seizure in Costa Rica since Wednesday, when authorities arrested a man outside Sarapiquí who was traveling with $552,000 in cash.

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