Border police demolish fenced “toll stations” blocking public road

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some local residents were blocking stretches of a trail with some even charging a toll in order to pass through, according to a statement from border police.

The public prosecutor’s office for the canton of Sarapiquí ordered the Policía de Fronteras to unlock the stretch of Ruta 1856, also known as the Trocha Fronteriza. The operation took place Wednesday and stretched through three towns, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said.

Along that 30 kilometer stretch, border police discovered about 18 fences with padlocked gates installed along the route very close to the northern border with Nicaragua.

Officers proceeded to chainsaw and dismantle the fences as well as cut the locks off the posts to free up the trail.

Police reports also indicated that they detained some men who are suspected of creating some of the gates blocking passage.

Some villagers, apparently in a bid to avoid the fees, went on a longer route with their animals, which caused damage to the terrain, border police said.

Among those detainees was an undocumented Nicaraguan who, police said, was charging people 1,000 colons per person for passage onward.

A second detainee is apparently a Costa Rican businessman who could be charged with usurping the government’s land, installing or ordering the installation of those gates, obstructing passage on a public highway and collecting illegal toll fees, the ministry said.

The man is also being investigated for illegally collecting 50,000 colons from a farmer so that he could go through the makeshift “toll road.”

Both detainees were turned over to prosecutor’s for further processing.

 

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