San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Drug trafficking

Costa Rican police arrest 8 in international money laundering, drug-running investigation

Costa Rica’s Drug Control Police (PCD) on Wednesday morning raided 11 locations across the Central Valley and arrested eight suspects believed to belong to an international drug trafficking and money laundering ring, according to Public Security Vice Minister María Fullmen.

The raids and arrests were the culmination of a PCD investigation into a group that allegedly trafficked drugs and cash across the Peñas Blancas border crossing with Nicaragua and on to Guatemala and Honduras. Both countries are major transit points for cocaine destined for the United States, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Fullmen said the eight suspects include the group’s leaders, a man identified as Fonseca Vega, a resident of San Isidro, Heredia; and his son-in-law, Herrera Castro, who lives in Coronado. Seven other arrests were tied to the criminal organization at the Peñas Blancas border crossing and another in Nicaragua, according to a ministry statement.

Raids took place in Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia and San José. A farm in Turrialba registered in Fonseca Vega’s name also was raided Wednesday as part of a money laundering investigation.

Since the investigation began in September 2013, police have seized $442,281, 877 kilograms of cocaine, six trucks and one car from the alleged drug-running gang.

Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry claimed to have seized over 21 metric tons of cocaine during 2014.

An organizational chart of the suspected international drug trafficking organization Drug Control Police busted on Feb. 11, 2015.

(Courtesy of Ministry of Public Security)

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