HomeNewsBriefCosta Rica Arrests Point to Security Forces' Growing Drug Trade Ties
BRIEF

Costa Rica Arrests Point to Security Forces' Growing Drug Trade Ties

COSTA RICA / 24 MAY 2018 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Authorities in Costa Rica have arrested several members of a drug trafficking network led by former security officials, highlighting a trend of deepening security force corruption in the Central American nation fueled by its expanding role as a drug transhipment point.

Costa Rican authorities on May 23 arrested 22 alleged members of a transport group headed by former members of the country’s coast guard and police, according to a Public Security Ministry press release.

The former law enforcement officials were allegedly helping transport US-bound drug shipments from Colombia and Ecuador through Costa Rica.

The shipments were recovered from strategic points at sea using Costa Rican-flagged go-fast boats that brought the product to the country’s southern coast, where it was returned to the South American suppliers, according to CRHoy.

The news outlet also reported that the suppliers paid the transport network with cocaine, which was resold in Costa Rica.

SEE ALSO: Costa Rica News and Profile

Authorities said the network recruited active law enforcement officials to provide inside information on security force movements and operations.

One active police officer and four active coast guard members were among those arrested, according to a separate report from CRHoy.

In the last two years, authorities reportedly confiscated 8.5 tons of cocaine and nearly $1 million linked to the network.

InSight Crime Analysis

As Costa Rica's role in the drug trade has expanded in recent years, so has the problem of security force corruption. And as in other countries in Central America, current and former law enforcement agents are playing a key role in the trafficking chain.

El Salvador’s Perrones Cartel and Guatemala’s Lorenzana family were two of Latin America’s most infamous transport groups. The success and longevity of both networks was largely contingent on their ability to forge alliances with corrupt security officials and elites in order to move drug shipments for larger criminal organizations without interference.

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Elite and Organized Crime

The recent arrests in Costa Rica suggest that current and former security forces there are also now playing a more central role in aiding transport groups. Indeed, Costa Rican authorities in June 2017 arrested a former high-ranking police official for allegedly guarding a cocaine shipment, as well as providing logistics and security for drug trafficking groups transporting drugs through the country.

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.

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

EL SALVADOR / 12 FEB 2016

El Salvador's past three presidents have now been accused of corruption, a possible sign the Supreme Court is ready…

BARRIO 18 / 2 FEB 2018

A former El Salvador mayor has become the country’s first mayor to be convicted of illicit association with gangs, a…

ELITES AND CRIME / 5 AUG 2014

In a move that was long expected, the Supreme Court in Guatemala has officially removed the former head of a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…