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4 suspects in historic cocaine seizure finally remanded to local authorities

July 15, 2014

After a month of delays, four suspects arrested in June as part of the largest cocaine seizure in Costa Rican history arrived at Juan Santamaría International Airport outside of San José on Tuesday.

The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) apprehended the suspects, most of them under 30 years of age, with 1.9 metric tons of cocaine in a fishing boat approximately 200 nautical miles southwest of Punta Burica on June 10. Authorities believe the cocaine originated in Colombia or Ecuador and was destined for sale in Europe.

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter remanded the four suspects to Costa Rican authorities in the southern Pacific port city of Golfito on Monday, after which they were flown to San José on Tuesday. The detainees remained in legal limbo on the high seas for a month, delayed by bureaucratic approvals. The U.S. Coast Guard also handed over 29 kilograms of cocaine found on the fishing boat as evidence. The remaining cocaine has been sent to the United States for destruction.

On June 10, Costa Rican authorities carried out three separate operations in coordination with the Public Security Ministry, OIJ, and the U.S. DEA and Coast Guard along the Central Pacific coast resulting in the confiscation of over 4 metric tons of cocaine, the largest single seizure in Costa Rican history. Police arrested seven suspects total.

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