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United States donates armored vehicles, helps expand crime investigation lab in Costa Rica

A financial contribution from the United States allowed Costa Rica to expand its forensic laboratory, and the U.S. Embassy provided four new armored vehicles to Costa Rican police, authorities announced.

In a Friday morning ceremony, Judicial Investigation Police said a $410,000 donation from the U.S. helped the agency improve its crime lab with more resources for its canine unit, in addition to infrastructure that will aid microscopic analysis.

“With this infrastructure, judicial staff can receive training in the use of dogs and the implementation of specialized research tools to detect fluids and human traces,” OIJ said.

The U.S. Embassy also provided OIJ and the Public Security Ministry (MSP) with a total of four armored vehicles, valued at $250,000 each.

The Ford F-350 Super Duty cars will primarily be utilized in high-crime neighborhoods throughout Costa Rica, according to authorities.

“Our commitment to help Costa Rica is serious,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, Sharon Day, in a statement. “Costa Rica is our friend, our ally, a bastion of peace and stability in a region increasingly beset by organized crime and violence.

“Costa Rican police forces are the most capable in the region, and that is why our goal is to give them the ability to achieve success in improving security in their communities, for the benefit of Costa Rica and our region, including the United States.”

According to Costa Rican authorities, cooperation with the United States has helped the Central American country seize 81 metric tons of cocaine and marijuana over the last two years.

A Joint Operations Center, established in 2019, allows MSP to plan high-risk operations within Costa Rica in collaboration with U.S. authorities.

The United States estimates that 90% of the cocaine that arrives in the North American country is transported by light aircraft, boats and submarines through Mexico and Central America.

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