Costa Rican cops conduct 12 morning raids to dismantle drug trafficking ring near Caribbean coast
The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) on Thursday morning conducted a total of 12 raids and made six arrests as part of an operation to dismantle a suspected drug trafficking organization in Siquirres and Guácimo, near the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Police found two new helipads in the mountainous area of Siquirres in addition to four helipads previously discovered in the area and close to the northern border with Nicaragua.
On Thursday, police raided two homes where officers found $35,000 in cash, in an operation that involved 240 police officers, two helicopters, and eight high-speed boats.
In Siquirres, close to Tortuguero National Park, the farms allegedly were used as fuel stations for drug trafficking boats arriving in Costa Rican waters, police said. According to the investigation, the helipads were used to transport cocaine shipments to the north.
“We broke the links of this organization with Costa Rica because we found their fuel stations, and now it will be harder for them to land in our territory,” said OIJ Assistant Director Gustavo Mata at a press conference. “We delivered a blow to this organization.”
Mata said the traffickers belong to a logistical wing of a larger, but as-of-yet unknown, transnational organization. Costa Ricans were involved in drug trafficking by air, sea and on the ground, he said.
The OIJ began its investigation after seizing 400 kilograms of cocaine found in a passenger vehicle last July. The driver was transporting drug shipments to one of the farms in Siquirres, and he died in a police chase.
During Thursday’s operation, authorities arrested a National Police officer who allegedly was leaking information about raids and anti-drug trafficking operations to the criminal organization. The police officer allegedly attempted to hide evidence by destroying a cellphone. The arrested men are Roberto Serafín de Dios Díaz Pineda, 50; Melvin Gerardo Díaz Pinada, 40; Greivin Frank Rojas Castro, 22; Michael Díaz Agüero, 26; Jonathan Dario Noguero, 26; and Ludan Díaz Pineda, 43.
Costa Rican police have not yet seized any of the helicopters allegedly used in the drug trafficking operations.
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