San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Dirty money

Costa Rica police nab tourists with more than $200,000 at Juan Santamaría International Airport

Police confiscated more than $200,000 in cash at Juan Santamaría International Airport over the weekend from two Mexican tourists, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry on Monday. The two suspects could face 15 years in prison if convicted of money laundering.

On Sunday, police at Juan Santamaría International Airport discovered $154,900 in cash hidden under the false bottom of a suitcase. The 27-year-old tourist, identified with the last name López, did not have a criminal record.

On Friday, airport police discovered $71,380 in cash hidden in sandals and three containers of beauty cream carried by a 40-year-old Mexican woman identified with the surname Chaves.

Police have uncovered several cash caches this year, including $352,610 wrapped in black plastic bricks in February. That same month, airport police confiscated more than €85,000 from two Dutch tourists. The Public Security Ministry has seized more than $1.7 million in cash so far in 2015.

According to Costa Rican law, all cash denominations equal to or over $10,000 must be declared at customs.

Contact Zach Dyer at

Log in to comment

Larry Kirkendall

just some ex-pats looking for a tank of gas, some groceries, and to pay their electric bill, what’s the problem?

1 0