Colombia Trafficker Links Costa Rica Business, Officials to Drug Trade

One tonne of cocaine seized from a Caribbean vessel

One tonne of cocaine seized from a Caribbean vessel (Source: National Crime Agency/Flickr)

An alleged coordinator of a drug trafficking network in Colombia claimed that transnational criminal groups operate in Costa Rica alongside local businesses and with the support of customs officials who sell information to criminal organizations.

This article was first published by InSight Crime. The original may be found here.

The drug trafficker, identified only by the alias “Juan,” revealed the route of the shipments, which leave from Cartagena towards Limón, the most important port in Costa Rica. The drugs then go to the United States, Europe or China.

The trafficker explained how they are able to move shipments of up to 20 tons of cocaine in trucks that transport cement, in an interview given on the Caracol Television show “Direct Witness,” and reproduced online by Crhoy.com.

“We do the shipments to Costa Rica, in containers, to the port of Limón. There we have a contact within a cement company – a company of cement trucks that carry cement to Costa Rica. Normally we send a maximum of 100 kilos per truck…This company has around 200 trucks working,” he said.

Juan added that trafficking in Costa Rica is similar to trafficking in Colombia. He insisted on the involvement of business owners with legally established companies that are used to launder the money generated by the trade.

“We have a large team working from Cartagena to Costa Rica,” he said. This includes officials from the Central American country who are paid to allow the containers carrying drugs.

InSight Crime Analysis

The statements made by the alleged trafficker corroborate the information published in a recent, extensive investigation by the newspaper La Nación, which showed the routes and maneuvers used by traffickers in Costa Rica.

The report in La Nación also refers to the co-opting of Costa Rican citizens and business owners by drug trafficking networks.
In the case of Costa Rica, organized crime groups have also benefitted from its position in global international trade networks to move large loads of drugs.

Gustavo Mata, the Minister of Security for Costa Rica, recognized that the authorities have had difficulties in controlling the passage of drugs in the country.

“This is a tsunami,” he told La Nación. “They make use of airspace, land borders, maritime routes,” he explained. “It is a constant bombardment. Just as police uncover one load, three or four others are coming in.”

This article was first published by InSight Crime. The original may be found here.

 

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