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Wild Costa Rica

Photo via U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard scoops drugs floating in Costa Rica's Caribbean Sea

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Published on Monday, May 27, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Coast Guard led another anti-drug operation in Costa Rica under the Joint Patrol Treaty.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, the case began on Saturday, when a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft was conducting a routine patrol operation over Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast.

The U.S. officers spotted several big bags drifting a few miles off the Limón Province Coast, they informed the Costa Rican Coast Guard who followed the coordinates provided in the alert and found the bags.

The cargo was transported to the police station in Moin Port.

At the station on Sunday, specialists from the Drug Control Police conducted a more thorough inspection and found almost 250 cocaine packages weighing approximately one kilogram each.

There are currently no suspects being arrested for having dumped the cargo into the sea.

Agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization will continue with the investigations to find the persons responsible for the drug shipment.

Authorities call for people to report any suspicion of drug sales or trafficking to the ten-digit confidential line 800-8000-645 or fast line 11-76, where bilingual agents can answer calls in English or Spanish.

The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) works closely with Costa Rican security partners.

Through cooperation and assistance from INL and other law enforcement agencies, Costa Rica confronts its drug trafficking problem by intercepting and confiscating illicit drugs.

According to the U.S. Department of State, 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. 

The U.S. assigned over $269 million in bilateral and regional security assistance to strengthen and modernize Costa Rica’s security forces, improve local security throughout the country, reduce the influence of corruption, and enhance the justice sector’s ability to investigate and prosecute transnational criminals, the Department of State, added in its statement. 

This assistance includes equipment donations, training, and technical assistance that enhance Costa Rica’s capacity to confront the growing threat of organized crime and narco trafficking. 

Last month, the U.S. donated a $440,000 police station facility in Puerto Viejo Beach, Limón Province.  INL budget provided funding for the donation of the police station.

Recently, General Laura Richardson, Commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), announced that the U.S. intends to expand assistance for Costa Rica in its struggle to control all commercial exports and imports in ports.

In April, the U.S. donated to Costa Rica a police facility base, fishing boats and vehicles valued at $2 million. The base houses park rangers and border police officers.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Costa Rica seized 43.5 tons of drugs and arrested over 190,000 offense suspects in 2023.

What more might the U.S. do to help Costa Rica combat drug trafficking? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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