COSTA RICA NEWS – Thursday was a dark day for narcotics trafficker in Costa Rica. First came the news that U.S. ships had snared four tons of cocaine in Costa Rican waters, followed the early morning raids by anti-drug police on a Limón operation by the Nicaraguan Reyes family.

drugs-and-moneyThe record capture of cocaine came, noted a La Nacion editorial, only a couple of days after U.S. drug patrol vessels received permission by the Legislative Assembly to enter national waters. The La Nacion editorial pointed out that this country’s “modest” patrol boats couldn’t have pulled off the coup.

The authorization for the foreign vessels to patrol had been requested by former Security Ministrer Mario Zamora last November. As the editorial pointed out, “It has never been easy to obtain such an agreement.” Under Costa Rican law, congressional consent is required for foreign warships to dock in this nation.

On June 9, the editorial continued, 42 congressional deputies voted to grant the privilege and the first of the three ships carrying cocaine was detained in the night of the following day. Within six hours afterward, two other vessels carrying cocaine had been captured.

Costa Rican patrols also arrested 11 Costa Ricans aboard the illegal vessels — two of them having taken on fuel subsidized by the government for fishing purposes. The editorial underscored the corrupting nature of the use of local boats, personnel and territory for passing of illegal drugs on their way to foreign markets.

But Friday’s police operation of 11 raids in Limón is closer to home for this country, although the alleged leader of the gang is a Nicaraguan, Agustin Reyes, 40. Reyes apparently took advantage of the friction between Nicaragua and Costa Rica to use the San Juan River and Calero Island as his base.

Reyes abandoned his own native country because Nicaraguan police had a capture order out on him. When the international dispute flared up between the nations guarding Calero and the International Court of Justice at The Hague issued an order for neither country to occupy the island, Reyes took advantage of the vacuum.

Reyes is accused of being the head of the gang Los Tarzanes which is made up of the extensive family of Agustin, Jose, Inocente, Silvio, Alejandro, Simeon and Eladio Reyes. (The family that preys together stays together.)

La Nacion reported that last October Nicaraguan police raided the Reyes ranch near the border and captured six Hondurans and two fast launches on the river and 52 barrels of fuel for their power engines. Lawyer for the Hondurans Marta Barillas argued that the six were simply farm workers toiling in the Agostin Reyes ranch in Costa Rica, reported the Nicaraguan newspaper Nuevo Diario.

Francisco Segura, head of the crack investigative agency OIJ, told La Nacion that another two had been captured in the raids but further arrests can be expected. One of the raids was at a home in Los Cocos, Limón province, where great pains had been taken to hide operations in which fast launches could be used to transfer cocaine by a river running behind the structure to trucks to carry the drug to Honduras and Mexico.

Article by iNews.co.cr, reposted with permission


Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.