Law enforcement officials generally agree that agents and police intercept only a percentage of the drugs flowing through Costa Rica.
If that is the case, the country is awash in cocaine.
Meanwhile, marijuana is a cash crop in southern Costa Rica. Periodically, the Fuerza Pública and the Policía de Control de Drogas make sweeps to eliminate the plants. They reported Wednesday that they just uprooted and burned 70,000 marijuana plants in Osa and Buenos Aires on the country’s Pacific coast. That brought to 2 million the number of plants destroyed this year, the security ministry said.
Officers said they found 17 plantations where the marijuana was cultivated. That included at Cajón in the canton of Buenos Aires and at Sinaí, Puerta del Sol, San Rafael, San Francisco and Paraíso de Tinoco in the canton of Osa. Officers also confiscated 267 kilos of marijuana ready for market.
Also in the southern zone, the Fuerza Pública and judicial agents intercepted a vehicle entering the country from Panamá about 6:20 a.m. Wednesday. It contained 12 packages, each containing about a kilo of cocaine, officers said.
The confiscation took place in Rio Claro at Kilometer 37 on the Interamericana Sur. That is a location for frequent drug arrests. Judicial police appear to have had a tip, so they
asked police to stop the car driven by a 28-year-old man identified by the last names of Carrillo More of La Cuesta, Corredores, on the Panamá border, they said.
At Juan Santamaría airport, anti-drug police detained two more air passengers who had what is believed to be cocaine in their luggage. One was a 32-year-old Frenchman with the last name of Albert. He carried five liquor bottles in his luggage, said officers. The bottles contained more than seven kilos of cocaine dissolved in the alcohol, they added.
Booked on the same flight going to Madrid, Spain, Tuesday was a 26-year-old Costa Rican woman. Anti-drug police said they found 4.2 kilos of cocaine in her luggage. She was identified by the last names of Sánchez Castro. Police detained some 40 air passengers this year as suspected cocaine smugglers. Four have been detained in the last two weeks.
Despite their efforts, police do not stop all the drugs. Police in Nicaragua this week found 335 kilos of cocaine hidden in a truck that was carrying toys from Costa Rica to poor children in Nicaragua. The cocaine was packed in boxes that were on the floor of the tractor trailer.
The toys came from Asociación Obras del Espíritu Santo, a well-known charity that works with poor children here, too. The shipment also contained candy.
Police speculate that the truck driver loaded the drugs after volunteers loaded the toys. He escaped in Nicaragua after police asked to check out the cargo.