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Cocaine Plane Crashes in Costa Rica; Big Busts in Honduras and Panama

October 9, 2010

An airplane carrying some 176 kilograms of cocaine crashed Sunday morning by the Torres river, west of the Costa Rican capital of San José, police said. 

The plane was believed to be heading to Guatemala after taking off from Tobías Bolaños Airport in Pavas, also west of San José.

The crash came after a week of major drug busts in other Central American countries.

The Honduran Police seized 460 kilograms of cocaine in the country’s Caribbean region last week.

The seizure took place Wednesday night in Brus Laguna district of Gracias a Dios province, police spokesman Leonel Sauceda told EFE on Thursday. 

The drug traffickers were preparing to load the drugs onto three speedboats when a police and National Drug Enforcement Agency (DNLCN) team arrived at the scene, he said. 

The drugs were seized after a gun battle, but no one was hurt, Sauceda said. The speedboats and two jet skis that belonged to the drug traffickers were destroyed by the authorities. Police have launched a search for the small plane that brought the drug to Brus Laguna from South America. 

In Panama, authorities seized about four tons of cocaine at a hideout along the Caribbean coast, 24 hours after confiscating three tons of the drug, law enforcement officials said. 

The drugs were seized by the National Aeronaval Service, or SENAN, Friday near the mouth of the Belen river, almost 300 km northwest of Panama City and near the site of the first seizure at the mouth of the Río Concepción, SENAN spokesman Vladimir Rodríguez said Saturday. 

He said that 4,926 packets of cocaine were seized at the mouth of the Río Belén near the port city of Colón. Authorities seized three tons of cocaine Thursday after a chase in which the occupants of a speedboat abandoned the vessel and remain at large, Rodríguez said. 

Panama has seized 79 tons of illegal drugs so far this year, he said.

–Tico Times & EFE

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