Customs crackdown netted $683,000 more this year

Costa Rican customs officials, operating under their Plan Nicolás, earned 1.2 billion colons ($2,354,000) in import duties from the nation’s private mail services from October 24 to Dec. 16.

This was the Dirección General de Aduanas crackdown on Christmas gifts. The effort produced 341,000,000 colons ($683,000) more than last year, the agency said in a report presented by legislators last week during the daily session.

But that does not count the packages building up at various post offices. A reader related the ordeal of trying to get presents that had been sent to his postal box. There appears to have been no system set up so that recipients could pay their import taxes at the Correos de Costa Rica. Instead, the reader said he had to drive “half way across the country to another post office, spend hours standing in line behind women holding their babies trying to get their Christmas presents — only to be told we had to drive to another city and stand in line at aduana.”

He said post office employees in his town said they had to send the unclaimed packages back to San José.

“The people in the El Robo post office were as apologetic as could be and felt very guilty making their living stealing Christmas presents from children,” he said. “The building was so filled with stolen presents that they could not walk.”

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