By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The Judicial Investigating Organization raided a hydroponic marijuana lab located located very close to the Alajuela courthouse. During the operation, the police arrested a couple aged 30 to 35 years old.
Authorities seized marijuana oil and about $18,000 in cash. Police also seized several tubes of Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the main psychoactive chemical extracted from the plant.
According to Eduardo Fallas, director of the regional judicial enforcement office in Alajuela, the raid began at 6 a.m. Friday at a small apartment in the Montenegro neighborhood.
Apparently, the couple produced high-end marijuana and its extracts and sold their product to wealthy clients. The clients were not many, but each one bought big amounts of the drug. Having few yet powerful customers helped the couple keep a low profile and make important earnings, Fallas said.
In the case of marijuana oil, each dose costs around $50 and are often sold at electronic vape stores and also as an aromatic essence in “well-being” stores.
The oil was made by a chemical process involving boiling the plants and adding aromatic essenses with the help of butane gas. The investigators learned about these activities through confidential sourcing.
After several weeks of monitoring, authorities were able to detect the arrival of luxury cars to the apartment and the departure of another one several times a week.
Investigators believe that one car was used to make deliveries but they are uncertain as if the couple worked with another network or close collaborators.
Today, the Alajuela head prosecutor is expected to request six months preventive custody for the couple, before the criminal court of the province. The Ministerio Público will file the charges of illegal growth, storage, processing and marketing of drugs.
The case is still under investigation.
As of August 2016, 41 hydroponic marijuana labs have been dismantled either by the Policía de Control de Drogas or the Judicial Investigating Organization, according to statistics by Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.
The first time a lab like the one in question was destroyed by police was back in 2003, in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, San José.
At the time, Authorities seized 416 marijuana plants and 12 kilograms of chopped marijuana.