San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican cops take down major drug trafficking ring

Costa Rican authorities cracked a powerful drug ring in a series of more than 20 raids carried out Tuesday.

The daily La Nación reported that 280 agents of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) carried out operation “Cuatro Plumas” (Four Feathers), arresting 11 people involved in a violent drug distribution network allegedly headed by Marco Zamora, alias “El Indio.”

Zamora was arrested at a house in Barrio Pinto in the eastern San José district of Montes de Oca, according to La Nación. Others arrested included Zamora’s brother, sister and daughter as well an ex-police officer who was the alleged leader of a group of hit men used by Zamora’s organization to intimidate and murder rival gangs, the daily reported.

OIJ agents seized 10 houses, 12 firearms,  $125,000 in cash and 19 kilos of cocaine in the raids. Jorge Rojas, director of the OIJ, told La Nación that Zamora’s organization is alleged to have set up “bunkers” in different areas around San José to sell drugs.  The group called on a group of thugs called “The Dogs” to kill any other dealers who wouldn’t leave the area, according to the La Nación report.

Prosecutors are charging Zamora’s group with four murders, as well as the sale and distribution of drugs domestically and internationally, as the drug gang also sent shipments of cocaine to Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Walter Espinoza, a prosecutor in the OIJ’s Organized Crime Division, told La Nación that among the busts involving organized drug traffickers in Costa Rica, Zamora’s group most resembled the highly organized, hierarchical and violent drug cartels seen in Mexico.

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