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Two ticos plead guilty to drug trafficking in U.S.



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Published on Monday, May 20 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services



Two male ticos (term used for a native of Costa Rica), surnamed Vasquez (47) and Salazar-Montero (34), pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, announced the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the sentence was set by the U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller.

In the same case was also pleaded guilty a Colombian man surnamed Gomez-Murillo (53), announced the St. Thomas Attorney Delia L. Smith.

According to court documents, in Nov. 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a vessel in international waters approximately 115 nautical miles from Isla Malpelo, Colombia.

"On board the vessel were the three defendants, multiple containers of fuel and 383 kilograms of cocaine,authorities added.




For their convictions, Vasquez, Salazar and Montero face a sentence of up to 20 years of imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Everard E. Potter.

The U.S.-Costa Rica Joint Patrol Treaty allows the State Departmentís Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) to work closely with Costa Rican security authorities.

"Through cooperation and assistance from INL and other law enforcement agencies, Costa Rica confronts its drug trafficking problem by intercepting and confiscating illicit drugs,said the U.S. Department of State in its statement "Narcotics seizures by the Costa Rican government hit new records in 2020 and 2021, with 72.7 and 71.1 metric tons seized respectively, though seizures declined in 2022 to 54.3 metric tons. "

Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard led another anti-drug operation in Costa Rica. The case began when U.S. officers spotted a suspicious aluminum speed boat crossing the Costa Rica Caribbean Coast with no visible registration plate number or country flag. The operation led to the arrest of six male crew members as suspects of drug trafficking.


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What else can Costa Rican and American forces do in the battle against drug trafficking? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com



  


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