Wednesday 20 January 2021

Restricted drugs: the mail-order transfer that woke up with the pandemic

During 2020 half of seized packagedcarried illicit substances

QCOSTARICA – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country saw an increase in the transfer of restricted products, mainly medicines without health records, says Correos de Costa Rica (Costa Rica Post Office), that has had a historical work flow and even doubled the number of packages processed for distribution in the country this year.

“At the local level there is an increase in the attempt to transfer restricted products, mainly drugs that do not have their respective health records,” explained Carla González, spokeswoman for Correos.

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She explained that Correos de Costa Rica has a series of controls and packages that are considered suspicious are separated. Subsequently, a notification is made to the respective authorities to proceed with the inspection of the content.

Seizures are executed if the product is restricted, prohibited or dangerous.

Data provided by the Costa Rican Post Office Security and Investigation Directorate, as of November 4, 2020, 48% seized packages contained illicit substances.

Compared to 2019, the figures show a decrease, when 85% turned out to be illegal products.

Few international packages

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Gonzalez explained that this year there had been a decrease in packages with illicit substances in the area of international services.

“By reducing the entry of parcels from other countries, the number of packages seized on suspicion of illegal content is also reduced,” said the spokeswoman.

According to Correos, criminal networks now resort to everyday objects to hide illicit goods to try not to arouse suspicion, however, the expertise of the X-ray operators and inspection personnel is oustanding.

Although it is not the most common, shipments that violate the Wildlife Conservation Law is also a focus of inspectors.

“Not only is the transfer of animal and plant species regulated, but also articles that have been made with raw materials from protected species,” added the spokeswoman.

Gonzalez said that strict controls with state-of-the-art scanner and coordination with international entities, the Drug Control Police, the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), the Fiscal Control Police and the Ministry of Health, helpd reduce illegal postal shipments.

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FACT CHECK:
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Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

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