U.S. man arrested for illegal gold mining in Corcovado National Park
Police arrested two men — including a U.S. citizen — in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park last week during a ground mission to expel illegal hunters and gold miners from the renowned nature sanctuary. The suspect identified as a U.S. citizen had the last name Knight. The other man, identified with the last name Ruiz, was Costa Rican.
According to the Public Security Ministry, the men were caught in the park’s Ajugas River operating a large water pump. The water pumps are often used by more sophisticated mining operations to wash away land and uncover gold.
Authorities estimate that approximately 400 gold miners regularly enter Corcovado, which is widely considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
High gold prices and lax regulations have led to an influx of illegal miners and hunters into the park in the last several years. Hunting and mining has damaged the park’s territory and has had devastating effects on the local jaguar population.
The Environment Ministry has teamed up with law enforcement to fend off the invasion.
Both Knight and Ruiz were transferred to the prosecutor’s office in Golfito, but are now free pending an investigation. If charged with illegal gold mining, the men could face up to five years in prison.
You may be interested
Reader photos: Beauty at Jacó BeachThe Tico Times - January 19, 2019
At The Tico Times, we love great photos of Costa Rica. Share your favorite original photos with us at: email@example.com. Reader Naomi shared…
Tico Times: Letters to the Editor (Jan. 18, 2019)The Tico Times - January 19, 2019
The Tico Times is proud to be an independent, English-language news source in Costa Rica. Our readers regularly submit editorials…
Costa Rica soccer announces squad to face United StatesAFP and The Tico Times - January 19, 2019
Costa Rica’s new men's national soccer team manager, Gustavo Matosas, summoned a revamped lineup without most of its best-known figures…