The Coast Guard in Costa Rica confiscated a whopping 1.4 tons of cocaine Sunday night, reports say.
Costa Rica, visited by U.S. President Barack Obama in May, is one of 14 nations participating in Operation Martillo to target drug trafficking routes in coastal waters in Central America. As part of the effort, led by the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South, Costa Rica has helped stop the flow of $3 billion worth of product in the drug trade.
Sunday’s seizure by the Costa Rican Coast Guard and Judicial Investigation Police in Limón took place on the Caribbean coast. The Costa Rican authorities received an anonymous tip and intercepted a 200-horsepower vessel. The crew beached it off the Costa Rican coast and fled. Costa Rican authorities reportedly found 45 packages of cocaine aboard; no arrests were made.
The Costa Rica security ministry claims to have confiscated 14.9 of cocaine so far in 2013. The Tico Times reports that Costa Rica has seized in excess of 40 tons under President Laura Chinchilla. Chinchilla called for discussions of drug legalization in 2012. In recent years, Latin American nation has become a major target for traffickers.”Our geography has us prisoner,” President Laura Chinchilla told the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S State Department’s 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report says that “Costa Rica made strides towards enhancing its police capacity in 2012 but also suggests that the nation’s “inadequate resources and complicated bureaucracy” are the cause for its drug woes. La Nacion reports that 80 percent of the 4,500 arrests made through September in 2013 in Costa Rica are related to drug trafficking.
The government of Costa Rica had previously sought assistance from the American DEA in disposing of 24 tons of cocaine, due to lack of an incinerator for doing so themselves. Their storage facilities had grown so full it was reportedly difficult to walk around. But, as reported by Q Costa Rica, the Costa Rican government has ceased sending drugs to Miami.
What do you think of the cocaine haul in Costa Rica Sunday? How can the nation solve its drug woes? What responsibility does the international community have in assisting Costa Rica with combating drug trafficking?