As both Costa Rica and the United States coordinate to fight the region’s drug trafficking, a U.S. representative here said they look at Costa Rica as one of the best partners they have.
Ray Perrin, political advisor of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, said the government feels very confident in the Seguridad Pública and it looks forward to more drug seizures as a result of their joint cooperation. To show this assuredness, Thursday Perrin presented Costa Rica’s coast guard units with more than $100,000 worth of new technology to be used against illegal drug trafficking.
Among the high-tech equipment are night-vision cameras, maintenance tools, and 10 new computers valued at $3,000 apiece.
“For us it’s a good investment because this is not just a Costa Rica problem, this is a regional problem,” Perrin said. “The drugs come from Colombia, Peru, or even here, and travel north to the States.”
He said about 80 percent of drugs coming from South America are transported up the Isthmus of Panama, making Costa Rica a hotbed for trafficking.
The other 20 percent is believed to be smuggled into Honduras through airplanes.
As part of the Central American Regional Security Initiative, known as CARSI, the U.S. has worked with the area’s countries to crack down on the drug trade and strengthen police forces. In Costa Rica alone they have not only made donations, but have also trained police units.
Thanks to the joint cooperation the two countries have on Costa Rican waters, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas has been able to confiscate more than seven tons of cocaine since May.
Celso Gamboa, the minister of Seguridad Pública, thanked Perrin and President Barack Obama for showing a reinforced sense of
confidence in his forces. He said they can be assured their continued investments into the country are well worth it.
“The wager that the U.S. has made with this investment is the right wager,” Gamboa said.
Perrin said that these additional investments into Costa Rica’s police forces are a sign that the government trusts that Costa Rica is appropriating the money in useful ways. Anytime the U.S. invests in another nation, he said, its obligated to funnel tax money into a field where it won’t go wasted.
“U.S. taxpayers don’t want a situation where they see other countries aren’t using the money that we put into them,” he said.
Thursday representatives from the security ministry also announced the death of Fernando Córdoba Brenes, who was the coordinator of Programa Regional Antidrogas. Gamboa called Córdoba an unsung hero and said he was instrumental in consolidating the country’s drug control forces.