San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Drug War

Drug plane crashes off Puerto Jiménez in southern Costa Rica

A small plane crashed into the ocean off Puerto Jiménez in the canton of Golfito early Tuesday morning. A body was found floating alongside the wreckage.

Police came to the scene around 2 a.m. and found an abandoned car onshore that had 360 kilograms of cocaine inside.

Police spokesman Sergio López told The Tico Times that investigators are treating the plane and the vehicle as connected, saying that’s normally how drug trafficking operations carry out transfers from one place to another.

A police press release said the body was of a white-skinned man with black hair and a beard who appeared to be between 45 and 50 years of age. Authorities have not yet established the identity of the man, López said.

A car carrying 18 packets of 20 kilograms of cocaine each was located onshore near the site of the plane crash.

(Public Security Ministry)

In addition to the lifeless body, Costa Rican Coast Guard officers were able to recover parts of the wrecked plane, although no drugs were found in the water.

Authorities seized the vehicle, which was found in the San Lázaro neighborhood of Puerto Jiménez, 340 kilometers southeast of Costa Rica’s capital.

So far this year, five aircrafts carrying drugs have been found by Costa Rican authorities, including three this month. Police have seized 3,4oo kilograms of cocaine so far in 2016, according to Public Security Ministry statistics.

The latest discovery, which Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata called another “blow to drug trafficking,” comes just days after Mata and police officials participated in a regional conference on security in Central America, held in the capital, San José. The three days of meetings included dialogue with the U.S. Southern Command, commonly known as SOUTHCOM, to map out more effective ways to combat drug trafficking.

Costa Rica’s location on the isthmus, north of popular drug-producing areas in South America, makes it a popular passageway for drugs headed north to the United States.

“Unfortunately, because of geography they’re sandwiched between the region that produces the coca and the one country that’s the largest consumer of cocaine,” SOUTHCOM spokesman José Ruíz told The Tico Times during the conference.

Ruíz trumpeted Costa Rica’s cooperation in battling the drug trade: “Just through sheer geography they’re in the middle of it, they’re affected by it and they are eager to work with the United States and the international community to work on that problem.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that police had seized 3.4 million kilograms of cocaine so far in 2016. The correct amount is 3,400 kilograms. We regret the error. 

Contact Michael Krumholtz at

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Connie Hiller

Although I don’t fish and love massages, I have stayed at Crocodile Bay 3 times. I’m pretty sure Cory will know me and his dad told me I should do PR for him in the states. I’m coming down for 6 months and I have to be on the beach. It can be a shack as long it has furnishings, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom small living room. Rent, appoint, isn’t an issue. I am so sick of the “unruly kindergarteners our country’s election process has become and I am sure the entire world is laughing at us and I wanna get out a town. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. I don’t drink or take pain or any recreational drugs but do have a medical marijuana prescription. Medical marijuana does not make you high. I have the same diagnosis the returning Vets have. Want to bring my y
two indoor cats. I am 72, so I won’t be whorin’ (although it’s legal) around your town.

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