In its first seizures of the year, the Costa Rican National Coast Guard seized 2.4 tons of drugs in Pacific waters off Costa Rica, in joint operations with the United States.
In an operation on January 29, 2022, Costa Rican Coast Guard agents, in coordination with U.S. intelligence authorities, intercepted a boat carrying 781 kilograms of cocaine in the country’s southern Pacific coast and apprehended seven alleged criminals, including Costa Rican and Colombian nationals.
“The interdiction occurred when the national [agents] in a patrol boat intercepted a flagless […] vessel with two outboard motors,” the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security said on Facebook.
In another operation on January 21, the Costa Rican Coast Guard seized a speedboat carrying 1,603 kg of marijuana and 40 kg of cocaine, 23 nautical miles off Punta Llorona, in Puntarenas province, after receiving a U.S. alert about the presence of a suspicious speedboat also in the southern Pacific coast of the country.
“With the collaboration of U.S. aircraft, officers of the Coast Guard Special Operations Group apprehended its two crew members, a Colombian and a Costa Rican national,” the institution added.
Costa Rica has stepped up its fight against narcotrafficking in recent years. On January 5, Minister of Public Security Michael Soto said that in 2021 authorities seized more than 71 tons of drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, mostly on the high seas and in containers, the EFE news agency reported. Costa Rican authorities also dismantled 35 international narcotrafficking organizations, two of which sent cocaine to Europe in containers with licit goods, such as fruits, the news agency said.
“The significant increase in drug seizures has been the result of years of collaboration between our countries. Costa Rica is clearly committed to investing in its own security, which is strengthening security in the Central American region and in the United States,” U.S. Navy Commander Lawrence Tinstman, senior defense official, Office of the Defense Representative at the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, said in a January 10 statement.