During a routine containers check, the packages were found hidden inside a wall in the refrigeration area.
 -  Drug Control Police photo -

Published Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Police find 500-plus cocaine packages
in containers heading to Belgium

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials of the Drug Control Police, PCD, found 506 packages of cocaine, hidden in four containers that were about to be exported to Belgium from Moín Port, Limón Province.

According to the police report, during a routine containers check, the packages were found hidden inside a wall in the refrigeration area.

The four containers were in the Moín Port with a cargo of bananas to be exported to the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, the police said.

After the police detected the drug in one of the containers, they proceeded with the scanning of the other shipments, which revealed the hidden cargo in the refrigeration area.

A more thorough review of the packages by police revealed that they were packages of cocaine. Each of the 506 packages weighed approximately one kilogram. The illicit cargo was distributed among four containers: 127 in one container, 126 in the second, 127 in the third and 126 more in the fourth.

No suspect was arrested for the drug shipment. However, agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization will continue with the investigation to find the people responsible for loading the drug into the containers.

A similar case happened in August when police arrested a Costa Rican man surnamed Romero-Ortega, 32, on suspicion of having loaded a container with 918 kilos of cocaine in fruit cargo to export to the Netherlands.

According to the police report, two properties related to the suspect were searched: a house located in Guácimo District and a warehouse located in Liverpool District. Both districts are located in the Limón Province.

Police seized electronic equipment, security camera circuits, packaging materials such as adhesive plastic and pallets, which will be used as evidence in the case.

The suspect has a criminal record for computer fraud and rape, the police said.

The Limón Prosecutor's Office alleges that the investigation could determine that on Aug. 7, Romero was the truck driver who transported the drugs to the APM Terminals Port in Limón Province.

That day the Drug Enforcement Police officers found a cargo of cocaine hidden in a container that was being prepared for shipping to the Netherlands.

During a routine scanner inspection of the containers, authorities detected the drug hidden inside a cargo of 1,260 boxes of pineapple ready to export to Rotterdam Port.

"The drug was contained in 21 briefcases, which were carefully checked and carried a total of 918 packages weighing approximately one kilogram of cocaine each," the Security Ministry said in its statement.

During this year, four drivers have been arrested on suspicion of trying to traffic drugs using this method, said the ministry.

According to the ministry, so far this year 9.6 tons of cocaine have been seized.

Should authorities implement routine scanning checks on all containers moving through port facilities?   We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com