A joint patrol operation between the U.S. and Costa Rican Coast Guard seized more than a metric ton of cocaine from two Costa Rican fishing boats on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry. Seven suspects were arrested on two boats.
The first boat, Embarcación Huko II, was stopped by U.S. authorities near Coiba Island in Panamanian waters. Four Costa Ricans were arrested when 640 kilograms of wrapped cocaine was found on board. The cocaine bricks were stamped with the words “ ilo” and “Fruco.”
The four suspects were identified with the last names Ramírez, 53; Miranda, 27; Chamorro, 55; and Bolaños, 27. All had prior criminal records, authorities said.
The Costa Rican Coast Guard and Drug Control Police stopped another fishing boat, the Kinia Andrea, more than 110 miles off the coast of Punta Burica, a thin peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean bordering Panama. Authorities arrested two Costa Ricans and an Ecuadorian with 397 kg of cocaine on board.
The three arrested on the second boat were identified as Sánchez, 41, and Granados, 30. The third, an Ecuadorean, is surnamed Mora, 18.
The drugs and Costa Rican suspects are on Costa Rican soil and have been handed over to the authorities.
The Public Security Ministry has confiscated more than 9,240 metric tons of cocaine so far in 2015.