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20 years

San Carlos residents report suspicious helicopter

August 19th, 2014 ( Residents of Aguas Zarcas, Venecia, San Miguel and La Virgen de Sarapiquí in San Carlos in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone reported to authorities the presence of a suspicious low-flying helicopter on Saturday, according to regional police chief, Francisco Morales.


The incident was also reported to the Civil Aviation Authority.


Morales said that authorities were able to determine that there were no authorized flights for the area when the helicopter was reported.


In March of this year, reports of suspicious helicopter and light aircraft flights were 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.


One man who owns a farm in Cutris reported in March that 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.


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 addition to the heliports, authorities discovered a large weapons cache at one of the sites in Cutris de San Carlos last October.  A total of 24 AK-47 assault files, three M-16’s, an RPG-7 rocket launcher, and other large-caliber weapons in addition to a large quantity of ammunition and fuel were found.  The weapons were new and well cared for, Security Minister Mario Zamora said at the time.


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.


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