Frontier police fighting fireworks and illegal immigrants

This truck held 61 Nicaraguan immigrants. Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo

Costa Rican frontier police grabbed a load of illegal fireworks and a truckload of illegal immigrants while carrying out searches under its new operation Navideño.

The 61 undocumented foreigners were packed in the back of a large truck driven by two men. They are suspected of being coyotes, individuals who specialize in transporting illegal aliens across the border. Police stopped the truck at a checkpoint in Upala Tuesday night.

The group of Nicaraguans contains four children under the age of 10. The would-be immigrants are being detained until they are transported back to their own country, said police. The two men are of the last names Alvarado Enríquez, who is 37, and Dinarte Pasos, who is 28, are suspected of illegal human trafficking and are being detained, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

At a different checkpoint stop in Santa Cecilia de La Cruz early Tuesday morning border police seized more than 5,000 units of illegal fireworks on a bus headed from Managua to San José. Authorities said a 35-year-old Nicaraguan man with resident status in Costa Rica and the last names Medina Martínez, is suspected of concealing the explosives, including 102 quarter-sticks of dynamite under the bus in his luggage.

Authorities say the man endangered the lives of all the passengers aboard the crowded bus. The penalty for importing illegal fireworks into the country is up to six years in prison.

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