Two snagged at airport on drug trafficking charges

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo Agent displays white powder inside shampoo bottle.

In the past few months drug smugglers at Juan Santamaría airport have tried to hide illicit goods in suitcases, horse saddles, pockets and body orifices. This time it was shampoo, conditioner and a secret luggage compartment.

The Policía de Control de Drogas detained two foreigners, one Cuban and the other Austrian, in Juan Santamaría airport over the weekend on allegations that they attempted to take cocaine out of the country. Both were headed for Spain.

The Austrian man, identified with the last names of Gartner Franz, 42, was caught with shampoo and conditioner bottles each containing what police said were small bags of white powder officials determined to be cocaine. He had entered the country Dec. 1 and was attempting to leave Thursday.

The Cuban man, identified by officials with the last names of Herrera Cruz, 33, was apprehended when it was discovered that his suitcase had a double compartment, one of which contained what police said were 227 grams of cocaine. He had entered the country Sept. 30.

The latest suspects marked for drug officials at airports and the borders the last arrests of 2011. At Juan Santamaría alone agents reportedly detained 35 persons attempting to transport drugs. Of the detainees, 32 were foreigners and three were Costa Rican.

In the Liberia international airport, Daniel Oduber, two passengers this past year were detained in an attempt to smuggle drugs through checkpoints. Both were males and foreigners.

The most common mode of transportation of those caught attempting to do so in the airport was using some sort of luggage to conceal the drug, but officials report that nine of the detainees used their bodies as a means of transport. International drug transporters can spend years in jail if convicted.

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