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20 years

Costa Rican environmentalist found killed execution-style

leatherback turtles

June 3rd, 2013 ( An environmentalist who worked to protect leatherback turtles in Limon was found dead on a beach on Friday.  Authorities said that the beach was used by drug traffickers, though a motive in the killing of Jairo Mora Sandoval has yet to be determined.


Mora worked with the nonprofit group Widecast, which works to protect turtle nests from poachers in Moin.


The murder was execution-style. His body was found beaten, with his hands tied behind his back and a gunshot wound to the head.


The 26-year-old was patrolling the beach with four other volunteers on Thursday night when masked men kidnapped them.  The three others managed to escape and alert authorities.


Didiher Chacon, director of Widecast, said that drug traffickers use Moin beach as a drop point for drugs, and believes drug traffickers may be behind the murder of the environmentalist.


In a message posted on its Facebook page, The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica called Mora’s killing “senseless.”


Mora was “a committed Costa Rican environmentalist who was sounding the alarms about threats received from anti-wildlife criminal groups and drug traffickers,” it said.


Widecast has decided to pull all of its volunteers from the area, where poachers collect the turtle eggs, which are typically sold for about ¢ 500 each.

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  • Randy

    It’s kind of strange that the President of China comes today and one of the things they are going to talk about is building an oil refinery at Moin and a dead environmentalist shows up on the same beach. Yes, I know it is said to be a drug runner beach, but it sure is a coincidence.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Tough story here….we are living in Quepos for the month and love Costa Rica’s focus on environmental issues.

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