HomeNewsBriefRise In Costa Rica Drug Seizures Indicates Increased Transit
BRIEF

Rise In Costa Rica Drug Seizures Indicates Increased Transit

COSTA RICA / 25 FEB 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Costa Rica drug seizures increased in 2013, but the number of drug-related arrests decreased, a dynamic officials say could point to increasingly large drug shipments being moved through this rising transit nation.

In 2013, the country registered a nearly 40 percent rise in marijuana seizures compared to the previous year (from three tons to 4.2 tons), while cocaine seizures rose more than 30 percent in the same period (from 15.5 tons to 20.5 tons). Seizures of crack also increased 6.2 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to the Costa Rican Drug Institute (pdf). A rise in LSD and ecstasy seizures was also reported.

Arrests of people for drug trafficking-related offenses, meanwhile, fell 20.5 percent, from 1,636 in 2012 to 1,301 in 2013.

Andres Rodriguez of the Costa Rican Drug Institute (ICD) told CR Hoy: “Although we are seizing more drugs, we are detaining less people. This makes us think these large quantities were headed for other places; they were seized from truckers and belonged to drug cartels and not locals.”

Specifically Rodriguez said the marijuana seized was largely for local consumption, while the cocaine was destined for the international market.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Costa Rica has been progressively affected by the regional drug trade. The country sits along what has become a drug trafficking superhighway, and cocaine seizures have been rising. Various transnational cartels are reported to have established a presence in the country, including Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and, most recently, the Knights Templar. Domestic groups involved in their own transport operations have also begun to emerge.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Criminal Migration

Rising crack, ecstasy and LSD seizures indicate Costa Rica’s local market is evolving along with its involvement in the transnational trade. The prevalence of cocaine use in Costa Rica is already notable: Organization of American States (OAS) figures show 1.8 percent of the general population used cocaine in 2008, a rate 50 percent higher than the regional average of 1.2 percent.

In the context of a growing domestic market and rising transit, the decrease in drug-related arrests is odd, particularly considering that 80 percent of all arrests in the first nine months of 2013 were reportedly drug-related. If, as Rodriguez suggests, this trend is because of smuggling patterns, it would suggest criminal groups are transporting drugs in increasingly large quantities through 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

COSTA RICA / 18 JAN 2011

Chef Gordon Ramsay, the backbiting Brit who spends most his days on his television show "Hell's Kitchen" ripping apart poorly…

COSTA RICA / 7 SEP 2016

Costa Rican authorities busted a group of alleged sex traffickers responsible for the forced prostitution of more than a dozen…

ECUADOR / 5 MAR 2019

In the south Ecuador city of Guayaquil, organized crime has created a vicious circle of drug consumption: violent microtrafficking networks…

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…