HomeNewsBrief'Historic' Costa Rica Cocaine Seizure Highlights Role of Locals in Drug Trade
BRIEF

'Historic' Costa Rica Cocaine Seizure Highlights Role of Locals in Drug Trade

COCAINE / 12 JUN 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Costa Rica has intercepted over four tons of cocaine and detained 11 Costa Ricans, in a case providing one indication of deepening local involvement in drug trafficking through the country. 

According to Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa, the Costa Rican Coast Guard seized approximately 4.1 tons of cocaine during three separate operations off the Pacific Coast between June 10 and June 11, all of which was found on Costa Rican fishing boats, reported The Tico Times. The seizure was reportedly the largest in the country's history. 

Costa Rica's Vice Minister of Public Security, Gustavo Mata, said the profile of the 11 alleged traffickers was "very young people with no criminal record." He added that youth in the area had largely abandoned the traditional fishing industry in favor of drug trafficking, reported Reuters.

The seizure came days after Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly agreed to extend joint maritime patrols with the US Coast Guard until the end of the year, a measure aimed at combating drug trafficking.

InSight Crime Analysis

For years, Costa Rica has served as a meeting point for Colombian and Mexican cartels transporting drug shipments, a role facilitated by its strategic position between the two countries. More recently, however, the country has become a storage center for the product, and cocaine seizures in the country have more than doubled since 2011.

Between 2006 and 2010, the number of international drug trafficking operations dismantled in Costa Rica rose from seven to 16. Various foreign criminal organizations have been reported to operate there, including Mexico's Knights Templar and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

The number of local Costa Rican groups dismantled has followed a similar trend, also more than doubling in the 2006-2010 period. Meanwhile, a high percentage of drug-related arrests last year, coupled with the disbanding of what was reportedly Costa Rica's first transnational drug trafficking group, suggest that Costa Ricans are becoming more deeply involved in the cocaine trade, likely developing independent structures to move cocaine for larger groups. According to The Tico Times, Costa Rican fishermen have been caught with nearly three tons of cocaine in 2014, and are increasingly taking on roles in large-scale operations, while the size of the most recent shipments indicates the suspects were using a tried and true drug route.

The evolution of the drug trade in Costa Rica is facilitated by the fact that the country is ill-equipped to combat this increasing narco-activity, relying in some cases on US assistance.

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 / 13 DEC 2012

Costa Rica's largest coffee exporters' association has claimed that a spike in robberies of coffee shipments is proof that the…

COCAINE / 2 MAR 2018

The unprecedented seizure of more than half a ton of cocaine at an Albanian port suggests Colombian crime groups seeking…

COSTA RICA / 15 SEP 2020

By providing satellite data on its fleets, Costa Rica is the latest country in Latin America to take on illegal…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

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…