Q COSTA RICA – Costa Rica’s Ministerio de Seguridad Publica (minister of Security), Gustavo Mata, has denounced an increase in drug trafficking in the country, and asked legislators to accelerate the approval of the bill on “Annulment of Ownership” in order to strengthen the fight against organized crime.
The minister made the remarks during his appearance on Thursday before the legislative members of the Comisión de Seguridad y Narcotráfico de la Asamblea Legislativa (Legislative Commission on Security and Drug Trafficking).
The Ley de Extinción de Dominio, explained the minister, will allow the state to seize assets from those who cannot demonstrate, in the short-term, the legitimacy of their acquisition.
“We can not fight the monster (organized crime) with a kitchen fork, we need that law,” he emphasized.
“There is no beach in Costa Rica where the narco (drug traffickers) has not penetrated with a boat of cocaine from Colombia,” Mata said.
The minister showed lawmakers a map provided by intelligence agencies in Colombia, which shows the traces of narco ships from that country.
According to Mata, for 2017, Colombia is projected to have a production of more than 2,000 tons of cocaine, which will be passing through Costa Rica on its way to other parts of Central America to get to the major market, the United States.
In addition, Costa Rica suffers from the arrival of loads of marijuana, coming from Jamaica. “These Jamaican criminal organizations work jointly with similar gangs in Costa Rica, in the province of Limon, leading to many of the murders last year,” Mata added.
He added that measures have been taken this year to deal with drug trafficking. These include the acquisition of coastal radars and new equipment to be donated by the United States. Among these donations are two boats that will start operating later this year. Each of these ships has the capacity to accommodate a crew of 25 and to stay at sea for more than a month at a time.
As well, the minister told the commission, 1,500 new police officers have been hired, of whom 1,000 are already to be on the streets at the end of the year.