Seven held after raids directed at drug smuggling

Judicial investigators detained seven persons, including four Costa Ricans, Thursday. The actions were the culmination of a year-long investigation involving police agencies in Germany and Austria, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Agents conducted nine raids and ended up confiscating cash, homes in Ciudad Colón,  Guápiles and San Carlos, as well as vehicles and firearms.

The agency outlined a system in which relatively small amounts of cocaine were moved around the country. A van that has a double floor could carry 100 kilos at one time, agents said.

The cocaine was shipped to Europe hidden among flowers and fruit, agents said. The judicial organization said that a kilo of cocaine here costs about $8,000, but it can bring $35,000 in Europe.

The arrests Thursday were linked to the discovery in 2013 of a vehicle in San Pablo de Heredia that contained 22 kilos of cocaine.

Police in Europe had confiscated that same quantity at the beginning of the investigation.

The chief suspect was identified as a Romanian. There also is a Mexican and a Colombian involved, said agents.

The cocaine appears to have been smuggled into the country through the southern zone, agents added.

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