San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

More than 3 tons of cocaine seized this year at Inter-American Highway hub

Costa Rican Drug Control Police in Peñas Blancas, Guanacaste, discovered 430 kilograms of cocaine under the floor of a Guatemalan bus on Sunday, bringing the total of cocaine seized in the border town so far this year to more than 3 tons.

The latest seizure brings the total amount of cocaine confiscated in the Costa Rican border city to 3 tons and 837 pounds so far in 2013. This is added to more than 15 tons of cocaine confiscated by Costa Rican authorities this year.

Peñas Blancas sits on the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, along the Inter-American Highway, one of the most important trade routes in Central America.

Police arrested two Salvadorans in connection with the drugs – a driver and an accomplice, who were traveling alone to Guatemala. Police did not investigate the 22 Guatemalan tourists who were traveling on the bus where the drugs were found, which was operated by Galap Tours International.

“The bus company was responsible for taking care of the passengers on their return trip to Guatemala,” said Carlos Eduardo Hidalgo, a spokesman at the Costa Rican Public Security Ministry.

The newspaper Prensa Gráfica reported that the main office of Galap Tours was abandoned on Monday morning, one day after the seizure. According to Guatemalan government records, the owner of the company is a Colombian businesswoman, Beatriz Elena Valderrama.

Drug traffickers also often hide illicit drugs in the walls and floors of trailers traveling across the border. 

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