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First big drug busts of 2020 nab nearly one metric ton of cocaine off Costa Rican shores

January 5, 2020

Costa Rica’s first big drug busts of the new year nabbed a pair of marine vessels off the country’s shores.

On Jan. 2, a coordinated effort between the Coast Guard and Public Security Ministry located a crew-less sportfishing boat in Golfo Dulce. Authorities seized 686 packets of cocaine, each weighing approximately one kilo, and arrested a man onshore surnamed Concepción.

Later that night, following a tip from a United States air surveillance aircraft, the Costa Rican Coast Guard intercepted a semisubmersible ship approximately 63 nautical miles from Quepos, Puntarenas, authorities said. The vessel was being operated by three Ecuadorians and, according to Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry, was also being pursued by a U.S.-operated P-3 Orion airplane.

Several packages suspected of containing drugs were found on board, and the three men were detained and brought to the Coast Guard station in Quepos. A later search of the semi-submersible located approximately 300 kilos of cocaine.

Much of the drug that arrives in the United States and Europe leaves the producing countries of South America and transits through Central America, including Costa Rica.

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