San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica officials seize nearly half a ton of cocaine at border

Police on Sunday seized 406 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a semi-trailer, and arrested the driver as he attempted to cross into Nicaragua.

A 52-year-old Costa Rican man with the last names Velásquez Ramírez was arrested at the Peñas Blancas border crossing in northern Costa Rica and charged with international drug trafficking, police said.

Costa Rica’s new anti-drug commissioner, Celso Gamboa – who filled a post left vacant last week after former commissioner Mauricio Boraschi resigned – told local radio ADN that Costa Rica should “keep its guard up” against drug traffickers. Drug cartels frequently use the country as an important transit route for South American cocaine headed to the United States.

So far this year, officials have seized more than five tons of cocaine. Last year, more than 15 tons were seized, nearly double the previous year’s amount.

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