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Costa Rica fishermen once again arrested as US Coast Guard seizes 2.3 tons of cocaine

July 1, 2014

The U.S. Coast Guard captured a Costa Rican fishing vessel and arrested three Costa Ricans and one Nicaraguan suspect off the coast of the remote Cocos Island in the Pacific. The boat had 2.3 tons of cocaine on board. The bust went down on Monday with the assistance of local Drug Control Police.

“We are more concerned about these [drug trafficking] organizations infiltrating our fishermen or the fishing boats that were once dedicated to fishing and are now dedicated to the trafficking of drugs,” said Public Security Vice Minister Gustavo Mata on Monday. “Generally speaking, more of our fishermen are dedicating themselves to coca trafficking.”

Mata added that two of the suspects were young men and did not have criminal records, part of an increasingly common profile for drug traffickers along the Central Pacific Coast. The vice minister said that police were working to crack down on organized criminal networks that recruit these young men.

Cocos Island, famous for its marine biodiversity, has become an infrequent route for drug traffickers and a target for shark finning in recent years. The Costa Rican government, with financial support from the United States, recently installed a radar station on the pristine protected island to identify and deter drug traffickers in its far-flung waters.

Costa Rican authorities have seized over 9 metric tons of cocaine so far in 2014.

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