Costa Rica: More than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine seized
By Dialogo October 01, 2014
From land to the sea to the air, drug traffickers in Costa Rica are trying to smuggle in their contraband any way they can – but police are still finding them, seizing more than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine between September 27-29.
On September 27, a police dog trained to detect illegal drugs alerted to a cocaine load hidden inside a bean shipment on a truck in Peñas Blancas. Police seized the cocaine and arrested the driver, who was trying to enter Nicaragua.
And just two days later, a joint Costa Rican and U.S. patrol at sea found 411 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the coolers of a fishing boat, according to the Public Security Ministry. The patrol confiscated the drugs and arrested three suspects.
That same day, a small Cessna aircraft crashed in the city of Cañas in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Its passengers were gone by the time emergency personnel arrived, but police found another 500 kilograms of cocaine while investigating the scene.
Honduras: Security forces leave narco-traffickers reeling
In Honduras, meanwhile, members of two major drug trafficking organizations – Los Cachiros and the Sinaloa Cartel – are spending more time and energy trying to evade capture than transporting drugs north to Mexico and the United States.
The Honduran Armed Forces and police have captured several operatives from both cartels in recent months, and displaced others from their strongholds throughout the country. Security officials have dramatically degraded the Sinaloa Cartel’s ability to operate in the departments of Ocotepeque, Copán, Santa Bárbara and elsewhere. They’ve made similar impacts on Los Cachiros in Colón, Olancho, and Gracias a Dios.
Consequently, operatives with the two groups have fled to the departments of Intibucá, La Paz, Valle, Choluteca and El Paraíso, which are now targeted by security forces. The crackdown has also caused organized crime operatives to change their traffics to avoid traditional land-based drug trafficking routes. Now, drug traffickers transport about 80 percent of the drugs they move into Honduras by sea, and 20 percent by air. They often fly cocaine or heroin on planes from Costa Rica and Nicaragua to the department of El Paraíso.
The Armed Forces has deployed troops in each of the country’s 18 departments as part of President Juan Orlando Hernández’s broad strategic plan to combat the narcotics trade. The president has also provided the military with improved equipment and technology.