The Sinaloa cartel controls the drug trade in Costa Rica and coordinates cocaine shipments from there to the U.S., a DEA agent said Monday.
Phillip Springer, a DEA representative, said that the Sinaloans have been using Costa Rica as a transit point for awhile, but they are increasingly stockpiling cocaine within the country.
"For the last year and a half to two years, most of the drugs [in Costa Rica] belonged to the Sinaloans," Springer said during a radio interview, according to AFP. "They weren't just working to traffic drugs through Costa Rica, but guarding it there in Costa Rica and storing it in warehouses." The Sinaloans keep a command cell in Costa Rica, he said, and work with Costa Rican and Colombian traffickers.
The Costa Rican government has previously commented on the Sinaloa cartel's expanded presence inside the country, including the previous Vice Minister of Public Security, Gerardo Lascarez.
The Sinaloan cartel is believed to control air strips near the Nicaraguan state of Managua, working with a local gang known as the Tarzanes.
Earlier this year, Costa Rica allowed 7,000 marines and 46 U.S. war ships to enter the country, intended to better combat drug trafficking activity. Congress is currently debating extending the deployment.