Costa Rica seizes 4.3 tonnes of Colombian cocaine in one of its biggest drugs busts in history

Drugs were smuggled in container filled with ceramic tiles

Graig Graziosi
Monday 19 July 2021 18:32
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<p>Packages containing cocaine seized during an operation by the Drug Control Police </p>

Packages containing cocaine seized during an operation by the Drug Control Police

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Police in Costa Rica are celebrating the nation's second largest drug bust after authorities nabbed 4.3 tons (907kg) of Colombian cocaine.

Though it's one of the nation's largest busts, it's not the only time law enforcement has intercepted drugs passing through the country. The increase of busts has led government and law enforcement officials to fear that the nation is becoming a transit country in the Colombian drug trade.

According to Reuters, the cocaine was hidden in a shipping container loaded with ceramic floor tiling. The container was loaded onto a commercial ship which arrived at the Costa Rican port of Moin after shipping out of Turbo, a port in Colombia.

The nation's security minister, Michael Soto, said that this year his nation has intercepted nearly 40 tons of marijuana and cocaine.

In 2020, the nation seized almost 57 tons of cocaine, a 56 per cent increase from the previous year.

Last week, Panamanian and US authorities seized an additional 5.4 tons of Colombian cocaine that was on its way to Costa Rica.

Authorities found 81 sacks of cocaine and another 147 were found in a wooded area near where the smugglers were arrested.

As with the previous case, the cocaine was on its way to Costa Rica for further shipping, likely to North American and European buyers.

The cocaine was worth approximately $185m, and accounted for more than 13 million doses of the drug.

In March, Costa Rica attempted to crack down on a specific organisation specialising in moving Colombian drugs through its borders. Law enforcement carried out approximately 40 raids across the country, all targeting the organisation in an attempt to shut them down permanently.

Walter Espinoza, the director of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Organisation, spoke with Reuters but did not reveal the name of the syndicate that has been smuggling drugs into the nation.

Law enforcement in Spain and France also secured more than five tons of cocaine that had links to the group, suggesting the syndicate is operating in at least four countries.

According to Mr Espinoza, the syndicate became a power player in the world of international drug trafficking by cutting out costly intermediaries and using its own agents to deal directly with Colombian drug manufacturers.

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