Trio detained in the north were transporting fake new bills

Ministerio de Gobernación. Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
These are some of the confiscated banknotes.

For a Salvadoran man who frequents the northern part of the country, December is usually the month he is arrested.

He was detained for fraud in December 2011 and again in 2012, said the Fuerza Pública. This time he managed to stay free until January.

He was detained Thursday as one of several persons involved in the transportation of fake banknotes. Police did not say why the man still is at liberty, although they did say he was well known to them. The 49-year-old man has the last names of Martínez Argueta, and he was detained by the Policia de Fronteras, said police.

Two residents of Limón also were detained.

The banknotes that were found hidden in the vehicle are copies of the new issues. There were 5,000-, 10,000- and 20,000-colon notes. The total was 700,000, about $1,400.

Officers suggested that despite the security devices imbedded in new banknotes, they had trouble determining if the money was authentic. They said they had to contact prosecutors.

Officers said that residents of the area around Los Chiles tipped them off to the presence of the Salvadoran.

The arrest raises the possibility that excellent copies of the new banknotes are making the rounds. Usually fake notes range from crude efforts made with copy machines to nearly perfect banknotes imported from abroad, usually Colombia. Although many copying machines and inkjet printers are designed to reject making copies of U.S. currency, Costa Rican money is not protected that way.

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