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.