Reports of suspicious flights have been made by residents of Cutris de San Carlos, on the border with Nicaragua, as well as the communities of Crucitas, Chorreas, Chamorro, El Roble, El Carmen, and San Vito. Specifically, locals reported suspicious flights on March 15th, 18th, 19th, and 22nd.
According to one local resident who spoke to the daily La Nacion, a suspicious grey-colored helicopter entered Costa Rica from the Nicaraguan side of the border around noon on Tuesday, March 18th, and continued traveling towards an area where officials last year discovered a number of clandestine heliports believed to be used by drug traffickers.
Residents in El Roble also reported last week the presence of a dark-colored helicopter with a white star on its side. Residents also reported the presence of several four-wheel drive vehicles traveling in their communities both day and night, which locals say do not belong to any area residents.
Another man who owns a farm in Cutris reported that a few weeks ago he spotted a helicopter hovering on a nearby mountain for some 20 minutes. “I got the impression that they were lowering or raising something,” he said.
Other ranchers in the area said they have received phone calls from an unidentified man offering to purchase their properties and pay them with “bags of cash.”
Residents said that the police station in Crucitas closed a year ago, meaning the closest police are now in Coopevega, a 45 minute drive from the area.
Security Minister, Mario Zamora said that officials would deploy additional border police to monitor the area soon.
Between October and November 2013, Costa Rican authorities found nine clandestine heliports used to transport drugs from Colombia to northern Central America, Mexico and the United States, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
In the past 10 years, Costa Rica has gone from being a transit point for drugs to becoming a place where drugs are warehoused, according to Paul Chaves, an expert in security and drug-trafficking issues.