Santa Cruz kids to get a week-long anti-drug message

The U.S. Embassy is supporting for the seventh year a week of activities against drug use by youngsters. The week starts Monday.

The effort this year is being directed at 23 schools in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. The  Fundación D.A.R.E also is involved along with various law enforcement agencies, the education ministry, the municipality and the Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas.

The week is called Lazo Rojo in Spanish. It is
known in English as Red Ribbon Week, which began to commemorate the life of murdered undercover agent Enrique Camarena. He and his pilot died in 1985 at the hands of a Mexican drug gang. The man identified as the killer is Rafael Caro Quintero, who was arrested a short time later in Costa Rica where he had fled.

Camarena worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. His death was exceptionally gruesome because physicians kept him alive so he could be continually tortured.

Students at the Santa Cruz schools will receive instruction from the D.A.R.E. program about the prevention of drug use. The program will conclude with an event Nov. 15.

There also will be soccer games, a movie, dancing and singing and even a parade against drugs.

Coincidentally, Caro Quintero is back in the news. He was released from a Mexican prison in August because a judge determined he was incorrectly tried at the federal level. The trial should have been a local one, the judge ruled.

After the man was released, there were legal appeals and consideration by the United States to extradite him. However, he has vanished and is the subject of an arrest warrant. He is about 61 years old.

Camarena lived in Calexico, California, where the observance originated.

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