San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Sea Turtles

Caught in the act: After turtle poacher fails to appear in court, police find him returning from another hunt

Police arrested two men suspected of killing an endangered green sea turtle in Parismina, a fishing village on the northern Caribbean coast, on Tuesday. Law enforcement officials found the two men in a boat with a gutted mother turtle who appears to have been full of eggs.

On an order from a local judge, police and Coast Guard officials went to look for one of the suspects, with the last name Chavarría, after he failed to appear in court for a previous turtle-poaching charge. As officers arrived at Chavarría’s home, they found the suspect approaching in a boat, along with a second man with the last name Madriz. The boat was full of poached turtle meat and eggs.

Police seized more than 165 pounds of turtle meat and 200 eggs – 100 of them fully formed. Half of the eggs were sent to a local hatchery were it is hoped they will hatch in two months. One of the turtle’s flippers had an ID tag, indicating the turtle had been part of a study. Police sent the tag to the Environment Ministry to determine its origin.

Both Chavarría and Madriz were taken to the Siquirres Prosecutor’s Office where they will be charged with violating several of the country’s wildlife management laws. The suspects could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if convicted.


(Courtesy of the Public Security Ministry)

(Courtesy of the Public Security Ministry)

(Courtesy of the Public Security Ministry)

Contact Lindsay Fendt at

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I am so glad these people were caught

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