HomeNewsBriefCosta Rica Dismantles Drug Trafficking Network
BRIEF

Costa Rica Dismantles Drug Trafficking Network

COSTA RICA / 29 APR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Costa Rica's authorities have arrested over a dozen alleged members of a drug trafficking network that officials say has contributed to rising violence, but the country's criminal dynamics indicate other local gangs will simply fill the underworld void. 

In the early morning hours of April 28, approximately 400 members of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigations Unit and 200 police officers conducted 27 raids in various parts of the country, resulting in the arrests of 16 suspected drug traffickers, reported crhoy.com. (See video below) The suspects are believed to be part of a drug trafficking group led by Luis Angel Martinez Fajardo, alias "Pollo," who was captured in Nicaragua in February, according to La Nacion.

Martinez Fajardo's drug gang is reportedly rivals with the trafficking network led by the Nicaraguan Marco Zamora Solorzano, alias "El Indio," who is currently serving a 70-year prison sentence for homicide, money laundering, and drug trafficking, reported La Prensa. Territorial disputes between these two groups has reportedly led to over 60 murders in the past three years.

InSight Crime Analysis

Costa Rican authorities hope the dismantling of Martinez Fajardo's trafficking network will lower violence related to the drug trade, which authorities say account for roughly 40 percent of the country's homicides. However, the arrests could lead to more violence, as the remnants of the dismantled group fight for control over territory that was previously under a single command.

New trafficking groups will also likely emerge to challenge the old ones, considering the profits to be earned in the domestic drug trade. According to a 2012 report by the Organization of American States (OAS), Costa Rica's per capita cocaine consumption rate is more than double that of Brazil, the world's second-largest absolute market for the drug.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

What's more, Costa Rica's apparent growing role in the transnational drug trade will likely continue to spawn home-grown criminal groups. In February, authorities dismantled a drug trafficking ring and an arms trafficking network, both of which operated at the international level. Last year, police arrested 12 Costa Rican nationals accused of shipping Colombian cocaine from the port city of Limon to Belgium. 

In some ways, these networks are following their Costa Rican forebears like Alejandro Jimenez Gonzalez, alias "Palidejo." Palidejo set up a vast Central American network that moved cocaine for Colombia's fearsome Rastrojos organization through the Isthmus.

When his partner allegedly stole from him, Palidejo sent a hit squad to Guatemala that murdered popular Argentine singer Facundo Cabral instead. Colombian authorities captured Palidejo in March 2012, and sent him to Guatemala to face the murder charges. Nicaraguan authorities later charged Palidejo with helping to run a drug trafficking network that extended from Costa Rica to Mexico. Costa Rica wants to try him for money laundering. 

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

COSTA RICA / 24 JUN 2013

Costa Rica is "the happiest country in the world." It is also called the "Switzerland of Central America." Since the…

COSTA RICA / 18 JAN 2011

Chef Gordon Ramsay, the backbiting Brit who spends most his days on his television show "Hell's Kitchen" ripping apart poorly…

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 17 JUL 2017

A Panama court has convicted and sentenced three members of a Nicaraguan-led human trafficking network focused on exploiting people…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…