Anti-drug agents and police frequently find no one at crime scenes that they raid. They may find money, drugs and weapons, but those who were involved in the marketing of cocaine and marijuana manage to leave just before police arrive.
Part of the reason could be criminal infiltration and corruption of law enforcement.
Judicial police and others in law enforcement conducted a massive sweep of 17 locations and detained eight persons early Wednesday. The sweep here was part of an international operation that detained 44 who are accused of transporting cocaine by sea from Colombia and Ecuador.
Among those accused in the case is a member of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. He is accused of alerting drug traffickers to the locations of patrol boats so they could avoid them.
This case follows on the heels of an arrest Tuesday of a Fuerza Pública supervisor in Turrialba who is accused of keeping a band of bandits informed of police movements.
In the past police officers were charged with serving as escorts for drug trucks and also for providing inside information to confederates.
Officials worry about gang associates accepting police jobs so they can inform their criminal friends.
Such leaks are hard to pin down. In addition, small-scale corruption is epidemic within the police forces, and a lot of officers are reluctant to turn in their working partners.
Those detained Wednesday in the major drug case are accused of bringing their merchandise to the southern beaches in Playa Zancudo, Pavones, Puerto Jiménez and Golfito.
The investigation began in 2014, saidofficials. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was involved.
The traffickers used Costa Rican-flagged fishing boats to move the drugs as far north as Honduras.
As part of the sweep Wednesday, judicial investigators said they worked with the Policía de Control de Drogas of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública on a parallel case involving money laundering.
Four of the suspects in the trafficking case also owned a number of properties, vehicles and boats.
One of the raids Wednesday was at a hotel in Golfito. Agents said that fincas, ice cream shops, vehicle sales agencies and other businesses were involved. Most were held under the names of nine corporations.