On Tuesday afternoon a U.S. surveillance plane spotted a suspicious ship 36 nautical miles off of Quepos, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. The boat was carrying at least 810 kilograms of cocaine, according to a Public Security Ministry statement on Wednesday.
When the five operators of the 30-foot drug boat realized it was being tracked by the plane, the crew began throwing the cocaine overboard. By the time Costa Rica’s Coast Guard intercepted the drug boat, which was flying an Ecuadorian flag, 17 nautical miles off the coast from Quepos, there was no cocaine left on board, ministry spokesman Jesús Ureña said in a telephone interview. Drug Control Police recovered 810 kilos of cocaine in the waters around the boat.
The crew consisted of three Colombians with the last names Góngora, Solís and Obando; and two Costa Ricans identified as Elizondo and Cabalceta. Cabalceta reportedly had a sizable rap sheet, including crimes for extortion and aggravated robbery.
Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry seized 21 metric tons of cocaine in 2014, making it the largest single confiscator of the narcotic in Central America, according to comments from minister Celso Gamboa during an end of the year review.