In a coordinated operation that included the assistance of 14 Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, Interpol has claimed to have seized over five billion dollars in drugs, resulting in the arrest of over 14,000 people and over 8,000 illegal weapons.
The massive investigation began as an effort to combat international gun trafficking from Latin America to Europe but then evolved into the largest anti-drug operation ever conducted by Interpol in its history.
The three-week international operation took place between March 12th and April 12th.
In Costa Rica, authorities have been silent about any coordination with Interpol, but an upsurge in homicides between rival gangs in the country recently has suggested that there may be a turf war going on given the recent vacuum of local leadership.
Given recent events in Costa Rica, it would appear that cartels from Mexico and El Salvador, including the infamous Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13 and MS 18), have quickly arrived to fill the vacuum, according to numerous local sources from the Tico Times.
The Mara Salvatrucha is known to be the enforcement arm of the Mexican cartels and is alleged to be involved in narcotic trafficking, gun smuggling, and immigrant trafficking throughout Costa Rica and Central America.
The government in El Salvador has recently implemented a massive crackdown on gangs, resulting in the arrest of over 40,000 suspected gang members, many held without charges.
Therefore, many of those gang members have dispersed to avoid certain detention to neighboring countries, including Costa Rica, according to local sources that live in the most affected areas of the country.
While the Costa Rican government has not yet officially issued a statement regarding their level of participation in the Title IX operation, it is anticipated that details should be forthcoming and their implications for the country.