US mother, children arrested at SJO airport after $45,000 discovered in their bags

MSP photo.

MSP photo.

March 1st, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) An American mother and her children have been arrested after a routine bag inspection at the Juan Santamaria Airport led to the discovery of $45,820 hidden amongst clothes in their luggage.

 

Authorities said the family did not declare the cash when boarding their flight to Costa Rica from Miami, nor upon their arrival in the country.  By law, those traveling with $10,000 or more in currency must declare the funds to customs officials.

 

The suspects, 41-year-old Caridad Leiva Maité and her children, Pedro Humberto Figueroa, 18 and Angélica Figueroa, 21 were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.  A third child of Maité’s, a 17-year-old minor, was placed into protective custody.  All are US citizens, according to authorities.

 

Authorities said they assume that the cash is the proceeds of some sort of illegal activity, and was being brought to Costa Rica to be laundered.

 

According to the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), the arrests were the result of confidential information received by authorities.

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    • http://alligatorsnroadkill.blogspot.com/ John Dungan

      Exactly who arrested these people, anyway? I thought it was a U. S. law that you cannot carry more than ten grand, so what authority in CR could have arrested them? And, a total of four people should be allowed to carry ten grand each, que no? There is something screwy here.

      • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

        Just added an additional final sentence to the story: “According to the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), the arrests were the result of confidential information received by authorities.”

        • roberto

          Hey Tim, my calendar says Saturday March 1st.
          Any news about the murder of Kurt Heigis? Maybe these people came down to hire a PI and take the body back to the US.

          • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

            Thank you for the catch.

            We are continuing to work the Heigis case, but have refrained from publishing certain items until his family receives his remains, which is expected to happen tomorrow.

          • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

            I suppose I should add, based on your comment, that these particular subjects are not connected in any way to Heigis or his family.

        • Luis Diego Campos

          SVA servicio de vigilancia aerea arrested them buddie and sent them to OIJ to be investigate.
          And OIJ along with SVA will make final report for the prosecutor to press charges. And ofcourse they wont tell you crap since investigation still open just to see who is the big fish, I mean, it make sense right?

      • CRChris

        John, the declaration of cash or equivalents in excess of $10,000USD is determined by the country of entry. So in this case Costa Rica. If you have traveled very much to foreign countries almost all have this declaration and the amount is almost always $10,000USD. The law also sets this limit to all who are traveling together not for each individual. If these people were smart they would have made an effort to not appear to be traveling together since their last names were not the same. But, this being said, the minor being the fourth person would not be able to hold $10,000USD undeclared.

    • Luis Diego Campos

      Played the game got caught too bad. Will face jail and money stays with the hacienda boys… If your hide it you know you are breaking the law..Lets not play stupid, credit,debit cc, travelers check, bank info wont get you in trouble…Airport security arrested them is call SVA.