Men caught with one ton of drugs in Costa Rica allowed to walk free, police say
Four men caught off the coast of Limón with more than one ton of marijuana onboard their ship were allowed to walk free by ruling of an area judge Thursday. The decision led Costa Rica’s National Police Force to release a strongly worded response in disagreement with the court order, which did not even apply preliminary injunctions to the subjects.
When the men were arrested Wednesday on their high-speed boat in the Atlantic Ocean, some 75 kilometers off of the coast of Limón, they began to throw large bags into the sea at the sight of officials, according to a police report. Police said they found nearly 50 sacks of marijuana on board the ship that later weighed in at more than one ton.
The men were believed to be traveling from Jamaica, which authorities said was the origin of the drugs.
Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata expressed his disapproval of the ruling over social media Thursday afternoon. According to Mata, the judge made the decision to free the men because there was an error or miscommunication in reporting how much marijuana was actually confiscated from the vessel.
“The judge from Limón let them free and without an injunction, citing arguments that I respect but I do not agree with,” Mata said. “Now it would seem that they’re wanting to weaken the head-on fight that the Public Ministry has waged against drug trafficking.”
The men did not have any paperwork or licenses for the boat when they were detained, police said.
“What would have happened if they had been able to throw all the drugs into the sea and we didn’t retrieve them?” asked a public statement from police on Thursday night. “It’s clear that in that case they would have been charged with circumstantial evidence.”
The judge’s identity was not revealed by Public Security officials.
You may be interested
U.S. donates $16,000 to help Costa Rica improve environmental reportingThe Tico Times - January 25, 2020
A donation from the U.S. Department of the Interior will help Costa Rica's Environment Ministry (MINAE) receive and track environmental…
In Davos, tourism industry promises less plastic and more sustainabilityPol Costa / AFP and The Tico Times - January 24, 2020
Faced with the tons of disposable plastic used by hotels every year, the CO2 emitted by airplanes or the overcrowding…
Meet Costa Rica’s newest NASA figure: Luis Diego Fonseca FloresBruce Callow - January 24, 2020
Costa Rica may be small, but its people are achieving great things. In this story, contributor Bruce Callow shares an…