Photo: Jeffrey Coolidge
Photo: Jeffrey Coolidge/AFP

(Q24N) AFP – Costa Rica appears on track to seize a record amount of cocaine this year after grabbing more of the illegal drug in the first nine months of this year than in all of 2015.

Public security ministry officials said Thursday that the coast guard has already hauled in 14.8 tonnes of the narcotic this year. For all of 2015, the total seized was 14.5 tonnes.

Some 89 drug-smuggling networks were dismantled in Costa Rica from January to the end of September, 28 of them linked to international cartels, the ministry said in a statement.

Costa Rica and other Central American countries are transit points for cocaine smuggled from South America to the United States.

An accord with the United States provides for joint sea patrols in Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean territorial waters.

The public security ministry said that the anti-narcotics police have this year “also taken off the streets large quantities of crack, marijuana plants, heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, firearms, vehicles and cash that were in the possession of suspected drug dealers.”

More than US$1 million in different currencies has been confiscated, the ministry said, along with 100 vehicles and 77 guns.