Security official cites actions against drugs in wake of article

A security ministry official called in foreign reporters in the country for a press conference Wednesday about Costa Rica and drug trafficking.

According to vice minister of security, Celso Gamboa Sanchez, Costa Rica is facing six different drug issues. They include international trafficking, internal trafficking, violence, corruption, drug abuse and money laundering.

The ministry is actively planning ways to attack these issues, and is also working to combat robberies and assaults. So far the efforts have been met with success, he said.

In the meeting, the vice minister said that the drug control police seized 7.5 tons of cocaine in 2011 and 7 tons 238 kilograms from the beginning of the year until August. Also in 2011, the force destroyed 1,448,000 marijuana plants last year and has destroyed 835,903 plants this year.
This ranks the country number 20 in confiscation of drugs, after Panamá, officials said.

There are people who grow marijuana in Costa Rica, but also it is being smuggled in from the surrounding areas. The minister cited the case last month where 2,265 kilograms of the drug was found being transported through the Caribbean.

The smugglers threw the drugs overboard and fled in their boat. The U.S. Coast Guard was called in to help with the pursuit.

The fight against drugs is one that should be a shared responsibility between the country and the United States, Gamboa said, with the United States bringing in weapons and boats.

This meeting comes two weeks after Reuters wired out a story from reporter Isabella Cota Schwarz that charged that cocaine is being trafficked in the national parks, and marijuana is being grown amidst the protected trees.

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