San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Drug trafficking

Joint Costa Rica-US patrols yield more than 2,000 kilos of drugs

Joint patrols between the Public Security Ministry’s (MSP) Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard confiscated a total of 1,815 kilos of compressed marijuana, 538 kilos of cocaine and 37 fuel barrels, in three separate operations carried out over the past week in Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean waters. Authorities suspect that the fuel was used to power smuggling boats.

The most recent operation took place in the early hours of Tuesday when MSP Coast Guard officials found the marijuana cargo hidden on the fishing boat Purple Ice, near Cieneguita beach in the Caribbean province of Limón.

Last Friday U.S. Coast Guard officials nabbed fishing boat Capitán Byron off Cape Matapalo in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific. The vessel was carrying 538 kilos of cocaine. All three crew members were detained.

Last Saturday a joint patrol in the Pacific detained the fishing boat La Pipilacha, also near Cape Mata Palo. The boat’s only cargo was  37 fuel barrels, 25 of them empty. All crew members were arrested and taken to the public prosecutor’s office under suspicion of providing fuel for drug boats.

All detainees in these operations are currently in custody and could face penalties of up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata Vega highlighted on Tuesday morning the importance of joint Costa Rica – U.S. patrols that led to the arrests and seizures.

Contact L. Arias at

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Robert Holloway

Intersetingly, smuggling of fuel out of Venezuela is being taken up by the same cartels that are also involved in the drug trade throughout the Americas. Due to the extremely cheap prices they can buy gasoline for they are smuggling it out now and selling it in other countries for what appears to be a larger profit margin than even coccaine. I think that CR authorities need to be on the lookout of the transporting of fuels as much as drugs at this point. Just maybe thoe empty barrels of fuel were ones that were already sold to customers for a huge profit…just maybe, or maybe being used as cheap fuel to support the ever increasing drug trade. Both ideas have validity and should be followed up by police in various that may not be accustomed to stopping fuel tankers, or boats carrying fuel sold on the black market.

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Dan Gibson

”The authorities ”suspect” the fuel was used to power the drug boats”! And all the time I thought they used it to heat their homes!! When they say ”joint” Costa Rican and US participation — it would be a little closer to use numbers – like — 90% US and 10% Costa Rican — and the 10% would be when the Costa Rican government allocates enough dinero to ”fuel” their boats — nothing against the CR police and their efforts — !

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