Eight men in marine shipping held as drug gang members

Eight Costa Ricans with background in maritime shipping have been detained as members of a drug gang.

The eight are accused of using their jobs and contacts to modify seagoing containers to hide drugs and then putting the modified containers into service.

The case is linked to that of two Costa Ricans who have been arrested in Spain in the company of a container that held 33 kilos of cocaine.

One of the men detained Thursday was sentenced to seven years on a similar drug charge in 1999, said the security ministry.

Seven persons were detained in Limón and one was detained in Escazú at the offices of Naviera Seatrade, said the Policía de Control de Drogas. They have been on the trail of the gang since the arrests in Spain and the entire investigation stretched back to November 2010, they added.

In all, police executed 12 search warrants Thursday to make the eight arrests. Among the places searched were the homes of the men held in Spain.

One man was in charge of managing shipping containers for a fruit export company, said agents.

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