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Sea Turtle Poacher in Costa Rica Gets Prison Sentence

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Source: MSP Costa Rica

Source: MSP Costa Rica

A Nicaraguan citizen who killed and gutted a green sea turtle in Costa Rica has been sentenced to 12 months in prison; he is not, however, in custody at the moment. The 40-year old man, whose last name is Martinez, was found guilty of the crime of slaughter of a Chelonia mydas in a sector of the Tortuguero National Park in the Caribbean region, an area that is a sanctuary for sea turtles in Costa Rica.

The convicted turtle poacher was caught in flagrante delicto by police officers and park rangers during a routine patrol of the conservation area in the province of Limon. Martinez had extracted about 40 kilograms of turtle meat when he was arrested.

An official press release by the Ministry of Public Safety (MSP in Spanish) explained that Martinez was apprehended in an area where many green sea turtles massively arrive to nest. The turtle poacher had already completed his nefarious and bloody crime against wildlife when he was caught on July 25th; police confiscated the turtle meat and quickly preserved it for evidence at a speedy trial.

The Tribunal of Pococi in Limon closed the case this past Saturday around 5:30 pm. Martinez is on conditional release from freedom; should he be found guilty of another crime in the next 12 months he may find himself serving consecutive sentences in one of Costa Rica’s correctional institutions, which are quickly becoming overcrowded.

More Arrests in Limon, Four Sea Turtles Rescued

Nesting season for some marine turtle species that massively arrive on the coasts of Costa Rica is keeping law enforcement busy. Officers from Fuerza Publica (the national police in Costa Rica) and agents from the Judicial Investigations Organization (OIJ in Spanish) arrested four alleged turtle poachers in Moin, province of Limon, on August 12th, 2003.

The officers in question were following leads as part of a crackdown on sea turtle poachers. They raided a home in Moin and surprised four men -including another Nicaraguan whose last name is also Martinez- cooking turtle meat. They had already butchered two turtles, but the Fuerza Publica officers and OIJ agents rescued four that were still alive.

These poachers were packing heat; in addition to the sea turtles and sharp gutting instruments, officers confiscated three firearms. Additional officers have been called in to augment and continue the anti-poaching operation.

Sources: MSP Facebook (photos)

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