HomeNewsBriefCosta Rica Tackles International Arms Trafficking Ring
BRIEF

Costa Rica Tackles International Arms Trafficking Ring

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 11 FEB 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Costa Rican authorities have conducted a series of raid against what they believe is an international arms trafficking ring with links to Mexico, Colombia and Panama.

Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Unit (OIJ) and Attorney General's Office conducted 11 raids of sites in and around capital city San Jose suspected of being part of an arms trafficking ring, reported crhoy. Three offices belonging to the Ministry of Public Security were included in the raid, as they are under investigation for facilitating the importation and registration of the weapons, reported AFP.

The Attorney General's Office said the armory Martin Armar S.A. legally imported the weapons from countries like the United States and Turkey which were supposed to be destined for private security companies. However they were actually sold to third parties within Costa Rica as well as in Panama, according to crhoy.

Authorities broke up an arms trafficking network in 2013 involving the same armory, which was reportedly used by elements of Colombia's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as a front to smuggle weapons and drugs through Mexico. 

It is unclear how many weapons have been trafficked to date, however the head of Costa Rica's judicial police force stated it was a "very large" quantity of firearms, reported AFP.

InSight Crime Analysis

It makes sense arms trafficking networks are popping up in Costa Rica, given the country's increasing importance as a transit point in the international drug trade. Costa Rica's strategic geographical positioning and inexperience in combating international drug trafficking has made it attractive not only for the FARC, but also Mexican cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Knights Templar. These drug trafficking groups not only create a demand for illegal firearms within Costa Rica, but also have the means and resources to smuggle weapons abroad.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

The recent arms trafficking sting is the latest indication Costa Rica may no longer be the "Switzerland of Central America." Murders reached a three-year high in 2014, suggesting the influx of drugs and weapons into the country are contributing to an increase in rates of crime and violence. 

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 8 JUN 2021

Florida has been unable to shake its reputation as a go-to destination for Latin American criminals to secure guns and…

ARGENTINA / 12 SEP 2022

The consequences of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing are immediate and enormous across Latin America and the Caribbean.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 7 MAR 2022

Authorities in Mexico recently seized an historic amount of high-powered weapons and ammunition in a northern border state, laying bare…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…