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.