Weekend drug busts highlight the continuing trend

Policía de Control de Drogas photo
These colorful packages were in a container.

Although Costa Rican officials frequently attribute the drug trade to the demand in the United States and Europe, there is a well-established drug market in Costa Rica. Part of the reason is that smugglers frequently pay for their fuel and other needs with cocaine.

In addition, there is a growing trend toward imported, high potency marijuana that is replacing the locally grown product.

The big haul of the weekend is a stash of 119 packages of cocaine that turned up in a container on the Limón docks. This was the most colorful recent discovery of drugs. The kilo packages were wrapped in different colors of plastic.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública.
These crack rocks came from Guanacaste.

The Policía de Control de Drogas did not specify the origin of the container. Typically the shipping containers are breached en route when they pass through a Colombian port and end up coming through Costa Rica on the way to the United States or Europe.

Clearly this shipment was not for local consumption, but other arrests highlighted local drug use.

Other agents of the Policía de Control de Drogas stopped a 15 year old in San José over the weekend because he had nine kilos of chopped marijuana in his possession. A little while later, a 14 year old was detained in a separate case in Limón along with two brothers as suspected vendors of marijuana.

In another weekend case, Fuerza Pública officers in Turrubares detained two persons on a motorcycle as suspected vendors of crack cocaine at a road checkpoint. There were 100 doses of crack, officers said.

Such activity is not confined to the Central Valley. Judicial agents in Guanacaste detained a man in Bagaces and said he appeared to have a sales route that included a local bar. The Judicial Investigating Organization said the investigation lasted two years. Agents confiscated 139 crack rocks wrapped in aluminum.

The weekend was typical with one or two drug arrests. Both the Policía de Control de Drogas and drug agents at the Judicial Investigating Organization routinely make arrests every week.

Most are not reported in the news media because they are small operations.

Usually in order for law enforcement officials to tout a particular arrest, the case has to deal with a substantial network or the involvement of police officers. Such cases happen several times a month.

The Central American drug situation continues to be wrapped up in local politics. President Laura Chinchilla would like a U.N. sponsored discussion on decriminalizing marijuana.

And she seeks compensation from drug destination countries for the impact on Costa Rica.

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