Three more cocaine cases lead to confiscations

Police and coast guard patrols from three countries captured two large shipments of cocaine passing through Costa Rica.

The first occurred Wednesday evening when a Canadian Coast Guard patrol boat captured a Costa Rican fishing vessel carrying more than a metric ton of cocaine, according to a report from the security ministry.

The second occurred early Thursday morning when agents of the Policía de Control de Drogas found 138 kilograms (304 pounds) in a truck leaving the country for Nicaragua.

The first case involved a fishing boat registered in Puntarenas called “Capitán Erson.” The boat was crewed by four men and it carried 1,086 kilograms (2,394 pounds) of cocaine on board, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública..

Ministry officials said that the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas had been coordinating with other coastal patrols to catch the boat for the past week.

A Canadian Coast Guard vessel bearing U.S. Coast guard personnel caught up with the “Capitán Erson” at around 5 p.m. Wednesday about 350 miles southeast of Cabo Blanco, officials said.

The Canadian-American crew took the four crew members into custody. Ministry officials identified them as a 40-year-old with the last names of Acevedo Acevedo, a 43-year-old with the last names Vega Parrales, a 36-year-old with the last names of Pizarro Abarca and a 21-year-old with the last names of Reyes Castillo.

Ministry officials said that a Costa Rican coast guard team was dispatched Thursday to retrieve the fishing boat, the drugs and crew. They will return to Costa Rica Sunday, officials estimated.

The second case occurred when a tractor trailer underwent a search at Peñas Blancas. Some 138 kilograms of cocaine were uncovered.

Drug police detained the 33-year-old driver who has the last name of Lobos. The tractor and trailer were registered in Honduras and the trailer was refrigerated, according to ministry officials.

Police also confiscated $140 and 1,360 Nicaraguan cordobas, the report said.

Ministry officials also highlighted their achievements so far this year in capturing drugs at the Peñas Blancas border crossing.

They said that this is the 24th drug bust at the border so far this year. In all of these busts, police have confiscated nearly 2,800 kilograms (6,200 pounds) of cocaine, 350,000 colons and more than $3 million. Police also arrested 25 people in these incidents, of whom 17 were foreigners.

Border police also made a more modest bust of nine kilograms (20 pounds) of cocaine at the Sixola, Talamanca, border post between Costa Rica and Panamá Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said that the border guards found the drugs in suitcases while searching a public bus going from Changuinola, Panamá, to San José. No one was arrested in this case, because none of the passengers claimed the luggage, according to a report.

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