The new Minister of Public Security, Jorge Torres Carrillo, stated that in the next four years, the Government will focus on the fight against drug dealing, with the purpose of trying to reduce violence in the streets of Costa Rica.
During a working session with the Members of the Security Commission, on Thursday, the Minister defended his work approach.
“Out of all the phases of drug trafficking, from the time the coca is planted until the money is laundered, there is no more violent stage than drug dealing,” he explained to the Members of the Security Commission.
“My vision is very strategic because the behavior of this phenomenon must be tackled with a lot of intelligence and with a lot of criminal investigation, to determine who are those who are trying to harm us in the country and to put these leaders in jail,” he further mentioned.
In 2021 Costa Rica registered 18 more murders than the previous year. Wálter Espinoza, director of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), explained local drug traffickers are responsible for the country’s rising homicide rate.
“On the issue of small-scale drug dealing, this is our focus; this is my position during my term in office until they let me run: we are going to fight hard against these drug dealing structures,” Torres said.
During the parliamentary meeting, the former head of the Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS), insisted that “small-scale drug dealing is costing us; the population is dying and its due to the issue of drug dealing.”
Torres also said drug dealing “is a big industry” and that a seven-by-seven-meter bunker can generate $80,000 a month.
“For one person who manages 50 bunkers, it’s like having a bank,” he stressed.
Regarding international drug trafficking, Vice Minister Martin Arias assured that the current situation “is putting us on the international map of being the first place of export or re-export of cocaine to Europe and the United States, despite that we are not producers.”
Jorge Torres assured the legislators he supports the plan to place scanners in all ports, with the purpose of inspecting export containers. However, he warned that they have evidence that some containers “are being contaminated inside the port.”
Finally, the Minister acknowledged there is a lack of personnel and infrastructure for the Police Force, and a need for better conditions for police officers.