Home Drug trafficking Costa Rica draws the line: All pineapple shipments checked for drugs

Costa Rica draws the line: All pineapple shipments checked for drugs

This handout picture released on August 27, 2018 by Spanish National Police, shows a person holding a cocaine-stuffed pineapple, seized by Spanish police in Madrid. Spanish police said on August 27, 2018 they have seized 67 kilos (148 pounds) of cocaine found inside dozens of hollowed-out pineapples at Madrid's main wholesale fruit and vegetable market. The drug-stuffed fruit was found at the sprawling Mercamadrid market in southern Madrid among a shipment of pineapples that arrived in the Portuguese port of Setubal by ship from Costa Rica and was then transported overland to Madrid, police said in a statement. / AFP PHOTO / Spanish National Police / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / SPANISH NATIONAL POLICE " - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ---

Costa Rica now requires that all shipments of fresh pineapple or its derivatives be scanned for drugs by officials at APM Terminals Moín, which operates the country’s Caribbean port.

“With the aim of guaranteeing safety and the positive image of Costa Rican exports in international markets, starting February 8, the General Directorate of Customs defined that all containers of fresh, organic pineapple and by-products such as dried, frozen pineapple, canned food, compotes, jellies, jams, puree or pineapple paste, juices and concentrates, be scanned by the port operator,” the Costa Rican government said in a statement.

The move is, in part, to “defend the reputation of Costa Rica” and comes days after authorities seized two tons of cocaine that was packed into a container with a shipment of pineapples destined for Belgium.

Costa Rica’s ports are used by drug gangs to ship drugs abroad, especially to Europe.

Last January, Costa Rican drug police found a shipment of 110 kilos of cocaine hidden in a container with pineapple juice that was to be exported to Spain.

In 2018, Spanish police seized pineapples stuffed with cocaine from Madrid’s main wholesale fruit and vegetable market. That fruit had arrived in Europe on a ship from Costa Rica.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Costa Rican authorities seized more than 16,000 kilos of cocaine hidden in containers with export products last year.

Central American countries, including Costa Rica, are used as bridges to transport drugs from the producing countries of South America to the markets of the United States and Europe.