In the most recent anti-drug operation carried out this weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard helped the officers of the Drug Control Police of Costa Rica in the detention
of four men suspected of transporting almost 700 kilos of cocaine. - Ministry of Security photo -
Published Monday, May 31, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
In the most recent anti-drug operation carried out this weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard helped the officers of the Drug Control Police of Costa Rica in the detention of four men suspected of transporting almost 700 kilos of cocaine.
According to the Ministry of Security, the operation began on Saturday night when agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization warned of possible drug trafficking in the waters of the Pacific Coast.
In coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, an artisanal fishing boat was detected crossing the area. With the coordinates provided by U.S. officers, the boat was intercepted at about 11 p.m. while crossing at 60 nautical miles out to sea from Golfito Port.
When the police boarded the boat, they detected the cargo of several large bags containing several packages of drugs.
The four-man crew, all Costa Rican surnamed Varela-Porras, 23, Bonilla-Quiros, 57, Araya-Mesen, 23, and Zapata Barboza, 24, were arrested.
The boat along with the cargo was towed to the port.
On Sunday, the agents of the Drug Control Police in an accurate count of the cargo determined that it was 690 packages of approximately one kilo each of cocaine.
The suspects were jailed at the Public Ministry cells, where they are waiting for a judge to order pre-trial measures against them for the accusation of international drug trafficking.
A short video of the anti-drug operation was released by the Drug Control Police officers and it can be seen on the A.M. Costa Rica YouTube channel.
That was the fourth case of the U.S. Coast Guard providing support in the arrest of drug suspects this month.
A similar case happened last weekend when the U.S. Coast Guard aided the officers of the Drug Control Police of Costa Rica in the detention of four men suspected of transporting 1.4 tons of cocaine.
According to the Ministry of Security, in the evening of May 23, the U.S. officials were alerted about a boat crossing at high speed through the Caribbean Sea.
With the coordinates provided by U.S. officers on a plane, the speedboat was intercepted 30 kilometers from the coast of Limón Canton.
The three- 200 HP engine boat was boarded by four men. A Costa Rican surnamed Thomas -Thomas, 38, with a criminal record for the use of an illegal handgun and an arrest warrant. The second Costa Rican, surnamed Madriz-García, 49, with criminal antecedents for attempted murder and extortion. The third crew member is a Colombian surnamed Rodríguez-Ramos, 46, with no criminal record. The fourth passenger was a Colombian, surnamed Morelo-Corrales, 50, also with no criminal record, according to the police report.
In an initial inspection of the boat, officers found several sacks containing packages of cocaine. Authorities immediately arrested the crew and took them to the Drug Control Police station.
On Monday, May 24, the officers carried out a more detailed inspection of the shipment, establishing that the cargo consisted of 1,441 packages of cocaine, weighing approximately one kilogram each.
In addition to the drugs, police seized the speedboat as part of the evidence in the case.
The suspects were jailed at the Public Ministry cells, where a judge ordered pre-trial measures against them for the accusation of international drug trafficking.
The second case happened on May 6, when the U.S. Coast Guard plane detected a speedboat crossing the Costa Rican Pacific Coast.
According to the police report, the U.S. officers tracked the boat and reported the coordinates to Costa Rican officers who intercepted it at 45 nautical miles from Matapalo Cape in the Osa Peninsula.
"The crew upon realizing the police presence attempted to escape and made risky evasive maneuvers, causing one of the Coast Guard officers to fall on the floor of the interceptor vessel," the police said in their report. And one of the speedboat crew members fell into the water. He was quickly rescued by police officers.
The intercepted speedboat was 36 feet long with two 200 HP outboard motors, with the name Escorpion painted on the side, but it did not have any type of flag identifying its country of origin.
During an initial inspection, officers found a cargo of cocaine. Resulting in an immediate arrest of the three crew members; two Colombian men and one Ecuadorian man. They were jailed at the Public Ministry cells, where a judge ordered pre-trial measures against them for the accusation of international drug trafficking.
The drugs and the speedboat were seized as part of the evidence.
The first case was reported on May 4, when the U.S. Coast Guard officers during a routine flight over the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, alerted authorities about a suspicious speedboat.
Similar to the previous cases, the vessel didn't have a country flag or visible plates, according to the Ministry of Security.
Costa Rican officers intercepted the boat at a distance of 89 nautical miles from Matapalo Cape. The officers reported that the 32-foot speed boat was equipped with two Yamaha 200 HP engines, with the name "Los Compadres" painted on one side.
When officers boarded the vessel for inspection, they found more than 60 packages of marijuana, weighing approximately one kilo each.
The three-man crew, made up of two Nicaraguans, surnamed Wilson and Sáenz and one Costa Rican surnamed Ewers, was arrested on suspicion of international drug trafficking. They were jailed at the Public Ministry cells where a judge ordered pre-trial measures against them for the accusation of international drug trafficking.
As usual, the drugs and speedboat were seized as part of the evidence.
Agents call on the population to report any suspicion of drug trafficking by dialing the confidential lines 800-8000-645 or 11-76. Bilingual agents can answer calls in English or Spanish.
What else should authorities do to stop the drug war? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com
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