HomeNewsBriefCosta Rica's Coffee Industry Claims it is Targeted by 'Organized Crime'
BRIEF

Costa Rica's Coffee Industry Claims it is Targeted by 'Organized Crime'

COSTA RICA / 13 DEC 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Costa Rica's largest coffee exporters' association has claimed that a spike in robberies of coffee shipments is proof that the industry is being preyed upon by "organized crime," but a lack of evidence suggests this may be an exaggeration, playing to fears of increased criminal presence in the country.

On December 11, National Chamber of Coffee Exporters President Eric Thormaehlen held a press conference to address a recent rise in theft and hijacking of coffee shipments, EFE reports. Since October 2011, at least 18 shipping containers -- each carrying about 19 tons of coffee -- have been been stolen while being transported on the country's roads and at ports. This is estimated to have cost the industry some $3 million in lost profits.

According to Thormaehlen, this is the work of organized crime. As proof he pointed to the high degree of planning and organization necessary to steal shipping containers, noting that it requires connections with customs officials and individuals in the companies themselves to pull off.

InSight Crime Analysis

But while this crime appears to be well-organized, it is not necessarily the work of organized crime in the traditional sense. It is unlikely that criminal networks in Costa Rica are deeply involved in coffee theft. When compared to the profit margin of drug trafficking, the returns on stolen coffee sold on the black market are insignificant.

Instead, the announcement could be an attempt to elicit a response from the government. In linking coffee theft to organized crime, coffee exporters are touching on a hot-button issue. While Costa Rica has largely been spared the high rates of violent crimes seen in other Central American countries, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have deepened their influence in the country in recent years. This has fueled concern among officials that the security climate in Costa Rica could be about to worsen dramatically. In January, President Laura Chinchilla said that organized crime is one of the biggest threats to stability that the country has ever faced.

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

ARGENTINA / 5 JUL 2022

Why did drug trafficking enjoy such a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic…

COSTA RICA / 22 JUN 2021

At a time when elites are undermining anti-graft efforts across Central America, prosecutors in Costa Rica have launched a far-reaching…

COSTA RICA / 13 SEP 2021

In Costa Rica, the seizure of narco-assets presents more of an obstacle than a gift to authorities.

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,…