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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 21 APR 2017

A former FARC guerrilla has been murdered in Colombia's embattled southwest department of Nariño, a reminder of the political and…

COLOMBIA / 15 FEB 2011

In a display of drug cartels’ increasing technological sophistication, Colombian officials have captured the first submarine capable of smuggling cocaine…

COLOMBIA / 16 JAN 2018

Has Colombia's FARC really left the country's criminal scene? Yes, and absolutely not. The rebel army is gone, and has…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…