Officers prevented the slaughter of 18 turtles in Limón Thursday morning and arrested the two men transporting them from Cariari to Guápiles.
Superintendent Adrián Salazar said police received a call from a citizen who said he saw a pickup truck drive by with live turtles in the back. Police found the two men, one Chinese citizen and one Costa Rican who acted as the driver, carrying a sack full of turtles
When police questioned them, the driver said he was under the impression that there were only crabs aboard and that his companion never told him anything about taking turtles.
Newly established patrols were responsible for the pair’s arrests, according to a Fuerza Pública statement. Police said the turtles were taken from a nearby river and some were identified as the Chelydra serpentina species, known as the common snapping turtle. Police gave the turtles to workers at the the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía for temporary safekeeping before their return to their habitat.
Monday the Fuerza Pública released a statement saying they have salvaged more than 2,000 leatherback turtle eggs from being stolen and sold in the past two months. Authorities have ramped up efforts near well-known mating sites to prevent nest looting and turtle killings with increased nocturnal patrolling.