Published Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Government buys three patrol boats
valued at $2.6 million-plus from
a U.S. company
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
On Monday, the Ministry of Security presented the three patrol boats that were purchased from the U.S. Metal Shark company for $2,662,000.
The budget for the purchase of the boats was obtained from the collection of taxes paid by private companies, which was created to finance the infrastructure and equipment expenses of the police.
In addition to the boats, the purchase agreement includes training by technicians from the Metal Shark company for eleven officers who were appointed to operate the boats.
Among the technical qualities of the patrol boats is the high speed. Two of these boats are 38-feet-long, equipped with three 300 horsepower outboard motors, with a capacity for eight crew members. The other boat is 45-feet-long, with the capacity to hold up to 18 crew officers, and has two powerful 567 horsepower turbines.
The three boats have high-tech navigation equipment, with cabins equipped with air conditioning, among other amenities.
The purpose of buying these boats is to make easier the search and rescue operations of boats or people, as well as patrol operations against drug trafficking.
"The United States and Costa Rica have worked together for decades in the fight against drug trafficking," Gloria Berbena, U.S. Embassy representative said. "The improvement of Costa Rica's ability to patrol its Caribbean waters with these new boats demonstrates our commitment to building a more stable, prosperous and safe region.”
According to the ministry, the U.S. government has given special support to improve the capabilities of the Costa Rican police forces. "The assistance that the U.S. provides to Costa Rica in security matters has quadrupled in the last three years and reaches a total of more than $40 million per year, in financing for maritime and border security programs, as well as in making more professional police, in judicial programs, citizen security and air cooperation."
The boats were delivered to the National Coast Guard Service at the Limón Province station.
The announcement of the new boats can be seen on the ministry Facebook page.
Arrests of suspected drug traffickers or onboard drug confiscations with the support of the U.S. Coast Guard has become a regular reported offense.
The most recent case happened on Friday when officials from the U.S. Coast Guard detected a boat crossing at 70 nautical miles off the southern Pacific Coast, near the border with Panama. The boat reacted an alert because it did not display any identifiers such as a country flag or plates.
A Costa Rican coast guard patrol boat responded to the alert, managing to intercept the ship at a distance of 80 nautical miles from Golfito Port.
During the routine check, Costa Rican officers found a shipment of cocaine. So the three-man crew, made up of two Costa Ricans surnamed Ramos-Carlson and McElroy-Pomier, and one Nicaraguan surnamed Carton-Reed, were arrested.
The suspects along with the boat and drug cargo were handed over to the Drug Control Police in Golfito Port, Puntarenas Province.
A few hours later, the U.S. Coast Guard alerted about a second boat that was also crossing the same area near the Pacific Coast.
With the support of a U.S. Coast Guard plane, which gave indications of the location of this second boat, the officers managed to intercept it 18 nautical miles from Golfito Port.
In this second operation, the boat was identified with the name "El Bateador" and accompanied by three men of Colombian nationality. They were identified with the surnames Barco-Reyes, Ruezo-Cuero, and Angulo-Lerma, the police said in its report.
In a quick routine check, the officers found several packages of drugs hidden on the boat. Officers detained the men and delivered them to the Drug Control Police station in Golfito Port, along with the illicit drug cargo.
Once at the port, the officers conducted a more detailed search on the boat, finding the cargo of both boats. They had 2,443 kilos of cocaine and 1,77 kilos of marijuana, so far this year 70 tons of drugs have been seized, the ministry said in its statement.
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