Almost six tons of cocaine headed for the European market were found in a container in the APM Terminal facilities in Moín, Limón.
The cocaine was in a shipment headed for Holland said Michael Soto, the Ministro de Seguridad Publica during a press conference in San Jose, late Saturday afternoon,
The minister explained the illegal drugs were discovered hidden in a container of ornamental plants bound for Rotterdam, Holland, on Friday night thanks to the scanner APM Terminals operates at the megaport.
“It is the largest cargo seized in the country,” said Soto.
It is estimated that the confiscated drugs have a value of US126 million euros in the European market.
“After doing the investigation, it is determined that the shipment left San Carlos with its lawful cargo, which are ornamental plants. We presume that the cargo could have been contaminated in an undetermined place between San Carlos and Moín,” said the minister.
For this reason, the driver of that container, a man of last name Rodríguez, 46, with no criminal record was arrested.
The detection in Moín, he explained, was done by profiling, if any aspects of a shipment appear suspicious the container is subject to scanning.
“This is the movement of a transnational structure that uses Costa Rica as a warehouse to subsequently contaminate national products to get them to Europe or North America, as has happened on other occasions,” said Soto.
Soto added that illegal drugs were produced in South America and warehouses in Costa Rica
“Subsequently, they use techniques like this to get them to other countries. Transnational criminal structures use various methods to deliver drugs to different continents of the planet, ”he added.
In October 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard seized from Costa Rican fishermen 3.5-tons cocaine, the largest seizure in the Isthmus at the time.
In April 2007, authorities uncovered a drug-trafficking gang, based in Costa Rica, planning to ship 15 tons from our country to Germany, Spain, and the United States, among other countries.
The Policía de Control de Drogas (PCD) – the Costa Rican police body akin to the DEA in the United States – arrested five Colombians, two of them heads of the criminal organization that had been operating in Costa Rica for months.
Minister Soto described the operation as “a very big blow to criminal organizations” and said that what is next is to continue working on the disarticulation of these structures throughout the region.
“What do we expect for the future? There are investigations that must be developed, groups that must be broken down, and it is very important to work regionally, with the countries of the area, because criminal structures cannot be addressed by a single country, but it is a joint work.”
Soto said it was a “positive and historical” work from the police point of view. “It demonstrates the effort we are all making. Sometimes we are doing well, sometimes not so much, but there is an important effort by the police forces,” he added.
“It is a regional phenomenon; There is an overproduction of cocaine in the south of the continent. In 2019, according to Colombian authorities, 2,000 metric tons of cocaine hydrochloride were produced, based on plantations and places they managed to determine; This is a huge amount of cocaine that is affecting the entire region.
It is not known exactly when, but some time ago Costa Rica and the entire Central America region went from being a transfer point – a bridge if you will – to a warehouse to distribute cocaine to different parts of the world.
This situation is reflected in the large seizures that have been carried out both in Costa Rica and in other countries in the region in recent months.