Illegal migrant smuggling network raided

Costa Rican law enforcement in conjunction with agencies from other countries say they have broken up a migrant smuggling ring.

This was an organization responsible for bringing many foreigners through Costa Rica and into Nicaragua for a final destination in the United States, said the Poder Judicial.

Agents made eight raids Tuesday morning and detained 12 persons, including the administrator of a San José hotel.

The raids are the logical consequence to the interception of a number of groups of illegal migrants, including Cubans, Africans and Asians.

Investigators said that the migrants paid from $7,000 to $30,000 for transportation. The rate depended in part on the origin of the individual. They also paid up to $400 for housing in Costa Rica, agents said.

During the raids, agents said they detained 14 Cubans who were about to leave Costa Rica and 12 Nicaraguans who were headed into Costa Rica.

One of the raids involved a property on the border with Nicaragua. Investigators said that illegal migrants passed through there after having been picked up at the Panamá border.

The arrests in Costa Rica were one part of the migrant transport ring operating through out South and Central America, said investigators. Law enforcement from Colombia and the United States participated, said investigators here.

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