HomeNewsBriefPolice Dismantle Colombia-Costa Rica Trafficking Network
BRIEF

Police Dismantle Colombia-Costa Rica Trafficking Network

COLOMBIA / 28 MAR 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Police in Costa Rica have dismantled a network that trafficked cocaine from Colombia for sale within the country, highlighting how Costa Rica's growth as a drug transit country may increase its domestic drug market.

Authorities arrested 14 members of the gang, identifying five of them as part of its leadership, reported Noticias Primero. Among those arrested were a Colombian and a Panamanian, who were allegedly responsible for the first legs of the trafficking route, which stretched from Colombia to Costa Rica via Panama.

Once in Costa Rica, the cocaine was sold to local gangs, who would either sell it on as powder or process it into crack, according to Costa Rica's Security Minister Mario Zamora.

InSight Crime Analysis

Costa Rica has one of the lowest cocaine user rates in Central America -- above only that of Guatemala, according to the United Nations. It has a population of under 5 million, meaning that the potential domestic market is relatively small.

However, in recent years there have been concerns that the country is becoming an increasingly important trafficking route, as other more traditional routes receive heavy attention from the security forces.

Costa Rica's growing popularity as a transit route may push a growth in the domestic cocaine market. Elsewhere in Central America traffickers increasingly pay local criminal groups for services, such as providing security, in drugs instead of cash, creating more access to drugs in the country, and increasing the opportunities and incentives for local gangs to get involved in domestic drug sales.

The US State Department has warned that Costa Rica is ill-equipped to tackle the growing presence of criminal organizations in 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

COLOMBIA / 31 OCT 2013

Police have seized half a ton of cocaine allegedly belonging to the Urabeños from a port in Colombia's Caribbean island…

COLOMBIA / 6 FEB 2013

At peace talks in Cuba, Colombian guerrilla group the FARC outlined a proposal to legalize drug consumption and cultivation, complementing…

COLOMBIA / 31 JAN 2013

An official report highlights the startling explosion of youth gangs in the city of Cali, Colombia, feeding the conflict between…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…