Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) caught Umaña Alvarez, a notorious drug trafficker, during a precisely planned operation across multiple agencies. They arrested him in Golfito, Puntarenas, as part of a raid to dismantle the infamous Los Catanos criminal organization involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

The 41-year-old Alvarez previously gained approval from the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA) in April 2023 for deep-sea fishing. Apart from arresting Alvarez, authorities also captured his 34-year-old wife, Vargas, charging both of them with money laundering.

The operation took place on Wednesday morning in various locations in Golfito, focusing on La Mona, where a high-ranking member of Los Catanos lived. Police acted on confidential information, finding suspicious wealth accumulation by the suspect, unaligned with his fishing-related income.

Sources confirm that the criminal group plays a key role in receiving large drug shipments from Colombia and distributing them throughout North America. The OIJ revealed the organization’s active involvement in money laundering via complex real estate transactions, luxury car deals, and commercial property acquisitions.

Authorities plan to seize three high-end cars and more than ten boats associated with the criminal network. OIJ Director Randall Zúñiga shared that Umaña has a drug trafficking record from 2009, and in 2020, law enforcement confiscated about 12 million colones in cash.

After months of intensive investigation, judicial agents exposed the primary activities of the criminal group, highlighting their role in receiving, storing, distributing, and selling drugs, especially in North America’s northern regions.

Key Takeaways From Article
Travel Tips:

1. Be aware of your surroundings: While Costa Rica is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, it’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. This news article highlights the presence of drug trafficking and organized crime in the country, so it’s crucial to stay informed and exercise caution.

2. Stay updated on current events: Stay updated on current events and news about the destination you’re visiting. By staying informed, you can make informed decisions about your safety and adjust your travel plans if necessary.

3. Choose safe areas to visit: Do your research and choose safe areas to visit in Costa Rica. Some regions may have higher crime rates or be more affected by organized crime. Check with local authorities or your embassy for any travel advisories or recommendations.

4. Avoid getting involved in illegal activities: It’s important to always abide by the law when traveling. Avoid engaging in any illegal activities, including drug trafficking, as it not only puts you at risk of criminal charges but also endangers your safety.

5. Keep your valuables secure: In any destination, it’s important to keep your valuables secure. This includes locking your hotel room and car, avoiding displaying expensive items in public, and using caution when using ATMs or carrying large amounts of cash.

6. Trust official law enforcement agencies: If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need assistance, it’s essential to trust the official law enforcement agencies and report any suspicious activity. They are there to help ensure your safety, so do not hesitate to reach out to them if needed.


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