HomeNewsBrief7 Police Sentenced for Aiding Colombian Traffickers in Costa Rica
BRIEF

7 Police Sentenced for Aiding Colombian Traffickers in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA / 19 JUL 2012 BY MICHAEL KANE EN

Seven police officers in Costa Rica have been sentenced to 22 years in prison for drug trafficking. Their convictions are more evidence of the increasing influence of criminal organizations on the very institutions in Costa Rica responsible for fighting trafficking.

The seven members of the federal police force were convicted of international drug trafficking and embezzlement. Another Costa Rican national who was convicted as part of the same case was a member of the Coast Guard until just a year before his arrest.

These crimes were committed in collusion with a Colombian drug trafficking organization. The same organization is suspected of trafficking several major cocaine shipments seized by authorities, including one shipment of 1,441 kilos intercepted in July 2009, 382 kilos last August, and 700 kilos last September.

InSight Crime Analysis

Costa Rica is becoming more important to smuggling operations through Central America. Authorities in May 2011 noted that land routes through Costa Rica are increasingly important as drug trafficking organizations are forced to abandon air and sea routes through Panama due to a crackdown by authorities there. The head of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) warned last December that Costa Rica has gone from being a transit point for drug shipments to being a center of negotiation between Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations.

Proof of increased smuggling operations point to this new reality of a greater criminal influence in the country. This past February, Costa Rican law enforcement seized a single shipment of two tons of cocaine, the largest bust in six years, from boats off the Pacific Coast. In the first four months of 2012, four tons of cocaine were seized at one border crossing, the same amount seized in all of the country in the last six months of 2011.

As InSight has reported, criminal organizations are building stronger relationships with security forces in Costa Rica. The amount of narcotics seized in the past year suggests that these organizations are getting more confident that these connections will facilitate large shipments and keep them from being intercepted. It is also very likely that there have been large single shipments like the one seized in February that have gone unnoticed by authorities.

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla correctly identified the problem in an interview late last year, saying, “This has to do with the institutions, and what [drug cartels] do is corrupt institutions to disrupt the legal system and the rule of law... I don’t remember in our whole history a menace like this menace from organized crime.”

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 7 APR 2022

Following an accelerating trend in the region, self-described anti-establishment candidate, Rodrigo Chaves, won Costa Rica's runoff presidential election with nearly…

ARGENTINA / 7 MAY 2021

The cat-and-mouse game of evading law enforcement was taken literally by drug smugglers recently in Panama, who hid cocaine on…

CHINA AND CRIME / 5 APR 2022

The recent discovery of a copper smuggling ring in Costa Rica sheds light on how copper theft is gradually becoming…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…