‘Joint’ Effort Pays Off

January 4, 2008

The bounty from the largest marijuana bust in Costa Rican history is sitting in a forensics lab, awaiting its demise.

Police made the record seizure last month – 4.4 metric tons, or enough to roll 17,600 joints, according to the Public Security Ministry’s calculations.

During a patrol Dec. 22 with the U.S. Coast Guard off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, police spotted a vessel carrying pot from Colombia, destined for the United States.

The 48-foot-long ship’s crew fled, abandoning their boat, which according to the Public Security Ministry, was in such decrepit conditions that it sank while agents tried to toe it.

No arrests were made.

The ship’s cargo, if it had survived the journey north, would have grossed about $106 million.

Instead, the 4,400 kilos of marijuana are being held in a lab in San Joaquín, Heredia, north of San José, pending authorization to be incinerated, security ministry spokesman Jesús Ureña told The Tico Times.

The bust beats the country’s record set in 1993 when police seized 3,789 kilos of marijuana off a ship called the Fénix.

The record was broken just days before another crackdown – this time of cannabis plants growing camouflaged among cornfields in the southern Caribbean region of Talamanca. Narcotics agents Thursday uprooted 148,726 marijuana plants, which authorities believe were meant for users in Costa Rica. The plants grew 10 centimeters to 4 meters tall, in 19 different fields. They join the total 2 million pot plants impounded in Costa Rica before year’s end.

 

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