QCOSTARICA (iNews.co.cr) A twin-engine U.S. Navy P3 patrol plane led two Costa Rican Coast Guard cutters and two local police helicopters to the capture of a 30-ft Ecuadoran boat carrying 810 kilos of cocaine. The drug smugglers were first spotted 36 nautical miles from Quepos on the Pacific coast.
The fugitive craft, known as the Cherna, built for speed and powered by two 75 horsepower engines, was sighted shortly after noon Thursday and the patrol plane shadowed her for 10 minutes, alerting local authorities of their discovery. Meanwhile, the five desperate crew members tossed packets of drugs into the ocean.
The Coast Guard, with the help of the helicopters, recovered 41 of the floating packets.Two Costa Ricans, ages 39 and 47, and three Ecuadorans were captured and given preventive prison to foil their fleeing justice. The capture got police off to an early start — last year they nabbed a record 21.7 metric tons of drugs.
In another operation Wednesday, police conducted 10 raids and made nine arrests in raids on two separate drug gangs. In Luna Park in San Sebastian, police broke up a preparation to distribute drugs while in San Rafael de Heredia, police broke into a warehouse for distribution.