Police actions reveal the murderous drug wars

The nation’s hidden drug wars that have resulted in so many murders burst into public view with police actions Monday.

• In Puntarenas early Monday judicial police staged 13 raids, including one in which three suspects died in a firefight.

• In Naranjo, Alajuela, police on patrol came upon two fake officers holding up truckers and a vehicle that later yielded 573 kilos of cocaine.

• In San José judicial officials were trying to provide an analysis of the wave of murders that have taken place since August in Desamparados. The data show that 32 of the dead are Costa Ricans, and only five were foreigners. Investigators attributed 25 of the killings to drug gangs.

• Also in San José a judge ordered three men suspected of murder to be jailed for investigation. These are the men caught early Sunday in Pavas driving a vehicle that had a dead man in the back seat. The victim was later identified by the last names of Fonseca Salazar. The suspects have the last names of  Urbina, Méndez and Saborío.

• In San José police officials said 40 more motorcycles and more officers would be going to Desamparados.

The shootouts left a father and son, both with the last name of Cubillo, dead as well as a third man, identified by the last name of Álvarez. The raids with the fatal outcomes were in Palmas del Río and Riojalandia, both Barranca. The raids by tactical squads resulted in the arrest of six men and a women. The investigation relates to murders Feb. 9, July 27 and Oct. 14 in Barranca.

These killings also are attributed to disputes over drugs.

The Judicial police said the shootings took place as tactical squad members entered the two homes about 5 a.m. to make the arrests. They were met with gunfire, the agency said.

Two members of the Unidad Especial de Intervención also suffered wounds, the agency said, but their conditions were not reported.

Raids also took place in El Roble de Puntarenas and Esparza.

The situation involving two tractor trailers in Naranjo is being treated as an attempted hijacking. The Fuerza Pública said the police impostors carried fake identification and fake permits to carry weapons. They told the truckers they were a Fuerza Pública officer and an agent of the Policía de Control de Drogas.

The impostors tried to flee when the real police stumbled upon the halted trailers, said the Fuerza Pública. The three drivers of the Honduran-registered vehicles had been handcuffed.

When real anti-drug agents arrived with a dog, they quickly learned that one truck trailer was carrying cocaine. The driver was detained. Two other drivers and their truck were set free.

A Fuerza Pública officer and a drug dog in Naranjo locate cocaine hidden in the floor of a trailer.

A Fuerza Pública officer and a drug dog in Naranjo locate cocaine hidden in the floor of a trailer.

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