U.S. donates $4 million to Costa Rica to fight drug, weapon smuggling at border

July 26, 2013

The U.S. donated $4 million to improve Costa Rican border security, including the construction of a facility near the border of Nicaragua – the site of a future highway.

A Friday report in the daily La Nación announced that the funds will purchase weapons, mobile resources, technology, increased staff and facilities. The donation also included four drug-sniffing dogs and four weapons- and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Public Security Minster Mario Zamora told La Nación that the funds will create a modern border office in Tablillas de Los Chiles, an interior town on the border southeast of Lake Nicaragua.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, Eric Turner, said the funds are nothing new and part of a continuing package to help Costa Rica combat drug and weapon smuggling.

“Secure and modern borders have been a goal of ours for some time now,” Turner said in a phone interview.

Turner said the border station at Peñas Blancas, near the southwest side of Lake Nicaragua has become a model crossing point, balancing the needs of commercial flow and security. That stationed was modernized with U.S. aid.

Turner said the border office in Los Chiles is not operational yet, but expects it to be soon.

Los Chiles will also be the site of a highway connecting the interior of both countries, planned to open in 2015, according to La Nación. That same story, from July 2, also comments on $3 million in aid from the U.S., which is part of the same package.

Turner was not specific on which U.S. agencies provided the funds, but said they likely come from the Department of Defense and the State Department.

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