Another trio of drug smuggling suspects brought in by U.S. Navy ship

The “USS Rentz” brought three Costa Ricans to Caldera Thursday, underlining the security ministry’s desire to have the legislature approve such arrivals after Dec. 31.

The three Costa Ricans were picked up in waters off Panamá with some 460 kilos of cocaine on board.

The U.S. Navy guided missile frigate has been a workhorse in drug patrols. U.S. crew members will keep most of the drugs probably for unloading at the ship’s home port of San Diego, California. Samples will be left as evidence against the three fishermen.

Under terms of an agreement between this country and the United States, Costa Ricans caught on drug boats are delivered to officials here for trial.

The director of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, Martín Arias, said that coordination between the two countries generated valuable information leading to the capture.

The security ministry said that a U.S. Coast Guard crew boarded the fishing boat, the “Papatec” 81 miles south ofPunta Burica.

The agreement whereby U.S. warships can enter Costa Rican ports expires Dec. 31. The legislature goes on vacation Dec. 23 and will be gone until Feb. 4.  Legislative approval is needed to allow U.S. ships to dock for prisoner exchange and for shore leave because that is a constitutional requirement.

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