The Public Security Ministry (MSP) is sending more police officers into the streets as part of a security operation ahead of the holiday shopping frenzy.
National Police Director Juan José Andrade said that on Friday, the first day of the operation, 100 officersraided bunkers, pawnshops, bars and other sites in San José. Police officers detained 50 people, several of whom had arrest warrants. Among those arrested were 20 people from Nicaragua, Haiti, Mexico and France who are in the country without proper immigration documents.
Guns, knives and 200 doses of various types of drugs including cocaine, crack, marijuana and amphetamines were also seized.
The Ministry’s Operations Director, Milton Alvarado, said that authorities also increased the number of police officers patrolling central cantons in all provinces. The MSP will send more police officers to conduct surveillance operations near banks, ATMs, parks, bus stops and other crowded areas over the next days and weeks, Alvarado said.
Chief Andrade said that police operations also are part of a surveillance strategy ahead of the distribution of Christmas bonuses that will begin this week.
The Finance Ministry last week reported that public and private sector employers this year will distribute some ₡777,000 million ($1.3 billion) among their workers. Under Costa Rican labor laws, employers must distribute Christmas bonuses between Dec. 1-20 each year.
Public sector employees will receive their bonuses next Friday Dec. 2, the Finance Ministry confirmed in a news release last week.
Labor Minister Carlos Alvarado said in a public statement that public sector agencies will close their offices on December 23.
That means workers who have not received their Christmas bonus by the deadline will have three days to file their complaints before the Christmas holidays.