Pursuit in Gulfo Dulce near Golfito leads to capture of drugs

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública/Guillermo Solano One suspect is handcuffed to a Guadacosta patrol boat for transport.

Information from a U.S. Coast guard aircraft allowed Costa Rican patrol vessels to chase ashore a boat load of cocaine and two gasoline supply craft.

The action took place Tuesday starting about 8 a.m. in the Gulfo Dulce. The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública said there were 1,080 kilos of cocaine confiscated and five persons detained. Three are Colombian nationals.

Presumably two boats with fuel were going to resupply the boat with cocaine but the three were driven to shore by patrols.

The landing took place at Punta Tigre six miles north of Cabo Matapalo between Playa Tamales and Puerto Jiménez. Other boat occupants fled into the hills, said the ministry.

There is a cottage industry along the coast of providing fuel for drug smugglers. Frequently the fuel is tax-free designed to be used by fishing boats.

Two of the boats confiscated Tuesday carried large blue plastic containers for fuel. Participating in the chase and subsequent capture were the Vigilancia Aérea, the Policía de Control de Drogas and the Service Nacional de Guardacoastas.

Costa Rican officials said they exchanged information with the U.S. Coast Guard plane prior to the arrests.

Sometimes the Costa Rican coast from the Panamá border to Quepos is the destination of so-called fastboats loaded with drugs. In this case, it appears that the boat was simply going to take on fuel and continue a trip north before it was spotted.

One neagtive effect of the refueling practiced by some Costa Rican fishermen is that the drug smugglers frequently pay in cocaine, which then enters the local market.

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