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US donates drones to Costa Rica

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica on Tuesday donated 15 unmanned aircraft to the Public Security Ministry (MSP), authorities reported.

The five RAVEN RQ-11B systems — each containing three aircraft and two ground support stations — will “support citizen and border security operations,” according to a joint press release issued by the Embassy and the MSP.

“The donation of these unmanned aircraft systems isn’t just another demonstration of the excellent cooperation between our countries to improve regional security, but it is an excellent example of the capacity of Costa Rica use new tools to confront transnational crime,” said US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Gloria Berbena.

Costa Rican authorities say they have already used the RAVEN RQ-11B system “with great success” in border regions to detect clandestine runways.

The donation is valued at $520,000.

The U.S. provides Costa Rica with $40 million annually to fight narcotrafficking and organized crime in the region. This finances maritime and air-based programs, border security and the judicial system.

Earlier this year, the United States donated to Costa Rica new Coast Guard boats and financed new training and maintenance facilities.

The U.S. and Costa Rica regularly coordinate in joint operations to stop international crime. Central America is one of the main routes for drugs headed from South America to the United States and Europe.

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