San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
drug war

US donates $19 million to Costa Rica Coast Guard

The U.S. government will donate two Island-class cutter patrol boats with a total value of $18.9 million to the Costa Rican Coast Guard. The 110-foot ships will be the largest in the Costa Rican Coast Guard fleet when they arrive in 2017.

U.S. Assistant Secretary William Brownfield of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs announced the donation following a meeting with President Luis Guillermo Solís at Casa Presidencial Wednesday.

Solís said that the unprecedented donation would allow Costa Rica to finally have the capabilities to patrol its vast maritime territory. The current fleet can only travel 1,200 kilometers, according to Coast Guard Chief Martin Arias in a news statement.

The new patrol boats will expand that reach to 5,500 kilometers, allowing patrols to reach Costa Rica’s maritime borders with Ecuador and Colombia. Costa Rican vessels have never patrolled these waters despite the country’s claim on them.

Besides fighting drug trafficking in the Pacific, Arias said the boats will help fight illegal fishing and piracy. Costa Rica will send 50 Coast Guard officers to Baltimore, Maryland to be trained on the boats.

“This is an excellent example of the work we can achieve when our governments work together in security,” Brownfield said during a news conference at Casa Presidencial. “Costa Rica can be very proud to have intercepted more drugs than almost any country in the region. It’s a great achievement that could grow even more with additional resources.”

Contact Zach Dyer at

Comments are closed.

Ken Morris

Donation schmonation. The US is just equipping Costa Rica to be a more aggressive lackey in helping to carry out the failed and murderous war on drugs. I would prefer that Costa Rica say “no thanks” to so-called donations like these.

1 0

All the people’s money spent on drag wars… really people? If some idiots want to ruin their lives with drug abuse, let them. Why would we spend such astronomical tax money fighting drug sellers when at the least decriminalizing “drugs” would free up so much funding so that we can finally get proper healthcare, schools and roads?

Stunningly obvious.

1 0
Justin Dolan

The Coast Guard is one of the five branches of the US Military. These cutters are warships given with the strings attached to continue the war on drugs in a country that boasts no military. This was done just as a Congressman and Medical Doctor Marvin Atencio was leading a charge to allow cannabis oil to be a legal medicine in Costa Rica during the past week.

Who benefits from wasting another nearly 19 MILLION US DOLLARS for a drug war?
Criminals that traffic illegal drugs, Big Pharma that sells less effective drugs with dangerous side effects, and politicians that have hidden agendas against your interests.

Costa Rica has been part of the problem with the commercial fishing epidemic. I am a Veteran of the WAR ON DRUGS. We are making drugs easier for children to obtain, making the drugs stronger, and making the drugs less expensive while allowing billions of dollars to go into the hands of the criminals. The drug war has failed miserably. Lets end it now and let the will of the people be the guide for the laws that rule the people.

0 0
Andy Snyder

So, to all of those below who are SLAMMING the US Coast Guard for giving these 110 ft. cutters to the Costa Rican government, will you stop being so hateful and learn something for once.
I’m a veteran who spent 23 of my 30 years in service in the U.S. Coast Guard so I know a thing or two about these vessels. First of all, these cutters, if you read the article which some of you apparently didn’t, can be used to enforce fisheries laws which some of you don’t even mention, KEN! In case you haven’t noticed, Costa Rica is also experiencing an uptick in illegal immigration, which, while mostly over land at the present, could shift to having these illegals come in by boat or ship. Also, Nicaragua has been more bellicose in the last few years and these cutters could help Costa Rica defend it’s maritime border since these cutters are much faster than the 82′ foot “Point” class cutters that Costa Rica currently uses. The armament on these cutters will probably be modified down to the 2 × M2 .50-cal MG but I’m not certain. I doubt the US will give them the cutters with the Mk 38 25 mm chain gun on board.
Still, a top speed of almost 30 kts and some .50 cal MG’s onboard will deter any drug smugglers with AK’s onboard. These .50 cal MG’s would cut them to ribbons. Remember, this is the Coast Guard and they do SAR too, which wasn’t mentioned. I would be happy if my fishing charter was taking on water 30 miles off of Jaco or Quepos and one of these cutters came to the rescue. It’s not all about the drug war, which I agree, I have reservations about too. Please, don’t get tunnel vision and just focus on that one topic.

0 0
Justin Dolan

The deal was brokered by the Bureau of International Narcotics. Do you think this was done without strings attached? We are not going to ignore that fact. If you had $19,000,000.00 of US taxpayer money to “help” Costa Rica, couldn’t you find a better use for the money? There is only one helicopter for search and rescue here. Guns don’t deter drug smugglers, not even the big ones on war ships. Coast Guard Cutters are authorised to use deadly force when a go fast won’t stop. Even huge guns designed for warfare manned by the best Military in the world with orders to kills don’t deter smugglers. The drug war has made the world a much more dangerous place.

1 0

Oh wow. Great donation, and they’re training the personnel as well. I hope they throw in some maintenance allowance, otherwise they’ll be a $19M coral reef no if, but -when- CR ends up being unable to maintain them.

Also, are these ships outfitted with any kind of weapon? They should, I hope. Drug smugglers sail about with AK-47s as side arms. Don’t get me wrong, I find this to be great news, I just hopping they did their homework and dotter their i’s

0 0