San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Drug trafficking

Costa Rica busts speedboat-using cocaine smuggling ring

Costa Rican authorities busted a ring Wednesday that used speedboats and fishing vessels to smuggle in cocaine from Colombia and Ecuador, officials said.

Eight Costa Ricans were arrested in more than a dozen raids carried out in the south of the Central American country, the Public Security Ministry said in a statement.

They are suspected of belonging to a criminal organization that dropped drugs in the Pacific Ocean for later recovery and transport to several spots along the Costa Rican coast as transit stops on the way to the United States.

“The suspects transported [drug] shipments to established drop points in the country’s southern zone, such as: Playa Zancudo, Pavones, Puerto Jiménez and Golfito,” Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry tweeted on Wednesday.

Costa Rican anti-narcotics police started an investigation against the gang in 2014, with the help of Ecuador, Guatemala and the United States. Since then, officials have seized about four tons of cocaine as a result.

Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast is a known route used by drug traffickers to move cocaine from producers in South America to consumers in the United States. See our 2014 report, “Drug traffickers lure Costa Rica’s struggling coastal fishermen with offers of easy money.”

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