Arrests in Killing of Sea Turtle Conservationist
Posted by Richard Conniff on July 31, 2013
Two months ago, I reported on the brutal killing of a sea turtle conservationist in Costa Rica. This morning police began making arrests in the case. Here’s the report from the Tico Times:
MOÍN, Limón – Shortly after 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning, agents from Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) raided several locations near Moín port and the city of Limón, both on the Caribbean coast, and arrested several suspects believed to be involved in the May 31 murder of turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, as well as other crimes, including robbery and turtle egg poaching.
OIJ spokeswoman Marisel Rodríguez said the number of suspects arrested is eight, and police are still searching for six others. Agents raided homes in La Managuita, Los Cocos, Pacuare and Guápiles, including two small houses down a muddy road in a forested area near Moín port – near where Mora was killed – where a Tico Times reporter witnessed at least one man placed under arrest and loaded into the back of an OIJ van.
Among the evidence police confiscated is Mora’s cellphone, Rodríguez said.
Initial reports from the Prosecutor’s Office indicate that investigators believe robbery was the motive for the brutal murder, which took place on an isolated beach where Mora worked to protect nesting sea turtles. Investigators said the suspects belong to a criminal gang dedicated to committing robberies and assaults in the area, not international drug trafficking, as was widely believed, based on Mora’s previous run-ins with poachers and the prevalence of cocaine and marijuana trafficking in the area.
Rodríguez said several of the suspects have prior arrests for robbery and assault. (To read the full story click here.)