Now it is pirates.
Officials report that seagoing crooks have invaded and robbed at least six ships in the Limón harbor.
The usual procedure is to sneak on the boats in the early morning and threaten the crews with weapons.
The pirates seem to be taking their cue from several gangs who have been taking over and robbing ships on the Pacific coast.
One group was active in the lower part of the Río Grande de Térraba in southwestern Costa Rica. The Juzgado Penal de Osa has extended the preventative detention for three men who are believed to be members of that group. They were detained Aug. 8 and have been in prison since.
The three men, identified by the last names of Centeno Marchena, González Morales and Arias Calvo. were surprised by judicial police in a small dwelling in Boca Brava, some 15 kilometers from Ciudad Cortés, said the Poder Judicial.
The armed gang approached boats on the river and ordered their occupants to deliver merchandise, motors and gasoline, said judicial agents.
Further up the Pacific coast there are other pirate gangs at work. A tourist ship was taken over by bandits while it was docked near Quepos. The pirates can lose themselves quickly in the small streams and inlets along the coast. There have been cases reported in Puntarenas, too.
The gang in Limón appears to consist of perhaps a dozen men who board seagoing freighters while they are at anchor in the Limón harbor. Boats tied up at docks are targets, too.