Costa Rican police arrested 30 drug traffickers from four countries over the course of a year-long investigation that has shed light on the increasing transnationalization of the country’s organized crime.
During the investigation, which began in May 2012, Costa Rican authorities identified four separate criminal organizations that worked together, said Security Minister Mario Zamora Cordero.
According to the authorities, one of the organizations bought Colombian cocaine in Panama and supplied it to the other three, who moved it from Costa Rica to Honduras, and then Mexico, reported El Porvenir.
Over the course of operations, authorities arrested seven Colombians, three Nicaraguans, one Panamanian and 19 Costa Ricans, and confiscated 3.1 tons of cocaine.
The latest arrests took place on April 24, when authorities detained 10 suspected members of one of the groups in a series of raids. A Colombian national arrested during the raids was identified as the suspected leader of the group.
Anti-Drugs Commissioner Mauricio Boraschi said that following the latest arrests, all of the main participants and leaders of the group have now been captured, putting an end to their operations.
Costa Rica’s importance as a drug trafficking hub has grown rapidly in recent years, as evidenced by reports that the country is now a transit point for cocaine which goes to 39 destinations on four continents. There have also been reports that an increasing number of Mexicans and Colombian traffickers are using the country as a base, leading to an increase in organized crime-related homicides.
Current President Laura Chinchilla has admitted the country is ill-equipped to respond adequately to the organized crime threat, putting it at risk of joining other Central American countries wracked by violence and corruption linked to drug trafficking and organized crime.