QCOSTARICA – The lure of fast money continues to tempt foreigners visiting Costa Rica, mocking airport security controls and place their lives at risk, becoming drug mules.
The latest is of an Italian, arrested Monday at the Juan Santamaría (San Jose airport) in Alajuela, hiding 101 ovules of cocaine in his stomach.
The man, identified by the Policia Control de Drogas (PCD) – Costa Rica’s drug enforcement police – as a 31 year old man with the last name, Manzini, who arrived in Costa Rica on March 18.
The PCD says they detected the man, travelling with a female companion (also an Italian national), displaying a suspicious behaviour. Both were taken to the San Rafael hospital in Alajuela for a medical examination and x-rays.
Authorities said they found Manzini had swallowed 101 ovules, weighing the equivalent of approximately 432 grams of cocaine.
His travelling companion was not carrying any drugs as initially suspected.
The Italian, who currently remains in hospital and undergoing medical treatment, faces criminal proceedings that could land him for up to 15 years in a Costa Rica jail.
According to the immigration service, the man had visited Costa Rica 12 times since his first arrival on February 27, 2009.
Last year, authorities detained some 135 “mules” (people) in different airport terminals in the country, the majority at the San Jose airport.