Costa Rican authorities seized 4.3 metric tons of cocaine that were hidden in a container with a shipment of ceramic arriving from Colombia, the government reported Sunday.
The drug shipment was detected Saturday in an inspection by the Drug Control Police (PCD) in the Caribbean port of Moín, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.
It represents the second-largest drug seizure ever by the PCD.
“In the inspection process carried out by the PCD officers, who located a suspicious container inside the Cala Palma ship, this container carried 173 packages that apparently contained cocaine and which were among the legal cargo of ceramic,” the ministry said in the statement.
The PCD identified 4,329 packages filled with cocaine, each weighing approximately one kilogram.
Costa Rica’s ports have been used by drug gangs to ship drugs abroad, especially to Europe.
In February 2020, the PCD carried out the largest drug seizure in Costa Rica’s history, decommissioning more than 5 metric tons of cocaine from a container at APM Terminals in Moín.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, Costa Rican authorities have seized 10.7 tons of cocaine hidden in containers this year. In 2020, authorities seized 16.2 tons of cocaine.
Central American countries are used as bridges to transport drugs from the producing countries of South America to the markets of the United States and Europe.
The United States provides financial and material support to Costa Rica’s anti-narcotics efforts.
Last month, a U.S. military plane flew nearly 40 metric tons of drugs to North America for destruction because Costa Rica doesn’t have a proper large-scale drug incinerator, authorities reported.