San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police Take Bite Out of Mexico-Tied Drug Network

Drug Control Police claim to have dismantled a drug-trafficking gang with links to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.

After raiding homes in Santa Ana, southwest of San José, and the southwestern Hatillo neighborhood, police announced the arrests of a Tico, last name Guillen, the alleged ringleader, and a Cuban, last name Lizazo. The men are also known as “Pelón” and “Manny,” respectively. Lizazo is now a naturalized U.S. citizen.

According to a Public Security Ministry press release, Lizazo and Guillen, 40, reported to an unidentified woman in Mexico who is linked to the Sinaloa cartel.

Public Security Vice Minister José Torres said the gang brought drugs from Panama, stored them for a short time in Costa Rica and then shipped them to Mexico, with the United States as final destination.

“It is a very closed and jealous organization that, even though it had a Tico in charge, preferred to send Mexicans here to watch over shipments to maximize its control,” the press release states. “Their contacts here also had the mission to find clandestine landing strips for airplanes shipping cocaine.”

Authorities began investigating the gang in February and achieved their first results when they arrested two Mexicans, last names Amezquita and Sánchez, in April after seizing 299 kilograms of cocaine stored in a remodeled house in El Tejar de El Guarco in Cartago province east of the capital (TT, May 9).

–Nick Wilkinson


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