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Drug Bust at Sea Washes up Cocaine

September 7, 2007

Despite efforts to destroy incriminating evidence by tossing it into the ocean, five Colombians accused of transporting 120 kilograms of cocaine were arrested off the Pacific coast last month, according to a statement by the Public Security Ministry.

National Police in the northwestern Guanacaste province were alerted by U.S. and Costa Rican marine patrollers of a suspicious boat off the coast of the province’s Playa Flamingo.

Upon spotting these authorities, the five aboard the boat allegedly threw their cargo overboard and headed ashore to Cablo Velas de Santa Cruz, where they burned most of the boat and fled into the mountains.

Meanwhile, police in small airplanes discovered six 20-kilogram packages of cocaine out at high sea. Costa Rican Coast Guard officials picked them up while National police found remnants of the destroyed boat.

Searching through the mountains, police followed a trail of water bottles and candy wrappers to discover the five men, identified by the last names Góngora, Urtado, Florez, Condomi and Caicedo, according to a statement from the Judicial Branch.

They were hiding in a rocky area with a satellite telephone, GPS device, machete, suitcases, cash, their passports, cell phones and a bag of provisions.

A judge in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste recently ordered them six months in preventive detention.

Remarking on the case, Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal hailed the Costa Rican judicial system over Colombia’s. “The Colombian drug traffickers were in the wrong country; Costa Rica is not an extension of Colombia, and we are not going to allow them to operate here,” he said.

 

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