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 - Photo via Ministry of Public Security -

U.S. military aircraft transports tons of drugs from Costa Rica

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Published on Monday, July 17, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A United States C-17 military aircraft transported 37 tons of drugs seized in Costa Rica in the last seven months to the state of Florida, U.S.A., for its destruction.

The shipment left the country from the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) located in Alajuela Province.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster is a large military transport aircraft developed for the United States Air Force. The aircraft is a strategic transport that's able to airlift cargo close to a battle area. It has a length of 174 feet, and a wingspan of 169 feet, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The massive cargo was a consolidation of all the seized drugs in Costa Rica collected during drug operations carried out by the Drug Control Police, the National Coast Guard Service, the Border Police, and the Judicial Investigation Organization, among other police forces in Costa Rica.

Since 2019, Costa Rica has sent more than 240 tons of seized drugs to the United States to be destroyed.

Both countries are working on the installation of an incinerator that Costa Rica will use in the future to destroy the seized drugs. Until the incinerator is put into operation, the U.S. will continue to collaborate with the country by destroying the seized drugs.

One of the most recent donations by the U.S. government is to build a Coast Guard station and a pier in Limón Province. The project has been budgeted at $4.5 million, which will be covered by a grant from the U.S.

The Joint Patrol Treaty with the United States allows continuing anti-drug operations in Costa Rica.  Recently, agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard led the arrest of four suspects of transporting cocaine near the Costa Rican Pacific Coast.

Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard offloaded more than 6 tons pounds of cocaine worth more than $186 million. The offloaded drugs were intercepted during nine separate cases in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

What should the U.S. government do to stop the drug war? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com