San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Drug trafficking

Costa Rican Coast Guard seizes 'historic' 4.1 metric tons of cocaine

Update Friday, 6:00 p.m.: A criminal court judge in San José sentenced three suspects captured off the coast of Quepos with one metric ton of  cocaine to three months preventive detention on Friday, June 13, according to a statement from the courts.

The Costa Rican Coast Guard seized over 4 metric tons of cocaine off the Pacific coast on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, according to Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa, in what is likely the largest cocaine seizure ever in Costa Rica.

The minister estimated the value of the cocaine seized at over $28 million.

The U.S. Coast Guard provided intelligence assistance for the operations. On Monday, the Legislative Assembly voted to renew  joint maritime patrols with the United States until Dec. 31, 2014.

The 4.146 metric tons were seized in three separate operations where authorities intercepted Costa Rican fishing vessels carrying 1,900 kilograms of cocaine near Punta Burica; 1,000 kilos off the coast of Quepos; and 1,246 kilos south of Cabo Matopalo. The fishermen could face 20 years in prison if convicted of drug trafficking.

The previous cocaine seizure record was for 3 metric tons in 2012.

Costa Rican fishermen are increasingly involved in large drug trafficking operations in the Pacific region, a known corridor for drugs headed north from South America. In May, two Tico fishermen were caught with nearly 2 metric tons of cocaine, and two others were caught in February with over 950 kilos.

“The profile of the suspects is very young people with criminal records. Something to emphasize is that now they’re no longer interested in the product [fish], we see that they bring it back rotten. They no longer go out to fish, they go out for cocaine,” Public Security Vice Minister Gustavo Mata said.

Gamboa suggested that the drugs originated in Colombia and were headed to the United States.

As of May 7, the Public Security Ministry has confiscated 7.2 metric tons of cocaine in 2014.

 

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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ticomike

Yes! The joint venture with the US Coast Guard paid off big. This could lead to even more seizures that don’t only go to Mexico and the US, but into Costa Rica, causing drug related crimes, addiction, and death. You see it every day if your drive through San Jose. I say thanks to the dedicated men and women of Costa Rica who put their lives at risk to stop the drug traffic, and the the US Coast Guard for their help.

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Genio Erra

Yes I believe in the Right cause but did anyone wonder if it was a distraction for 10 times more to go through

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