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The Battle for Drug Routes in Costa Rica: Sinaloa, Jalisco and Colombian Traffickers Compete

The United Nations Global Cocaine Report has revealed that the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels, along with Colombian drug traffickers, are competing for drug trafficking routes in Costa Rica and control over the territory.

While these criminal groups do not work together to move drugs to the United States and Europe, they instead engage in violent conflicts with each other and local drug traffickers to gain dominance over the drug trade.

According to the UN report, individuals linked to the Cártel de Sinaloa have settled in Costa Rica and are using their administration skills to help Colombian organized crime groups establish their operations in the country. This has led to an increase in violence in Central America primarily driven by competition with local drug traffickers and different gangs.

Mexican hitmen are believed to be behind the upsurge in violence in Costa Rica, as several local drug dealers were killed in what appears to be an attempt to replace them with Colombian or Mexican gang members. The gangs are also using different techniques to transport their drugs, with maritime transport being the principal modality.

Drug traffickers have also adapted to COVID-19 restrictions and are increasingly using international postal services to transport their products. In Costa Rica, smaller quantities of cocaine are being mailed to Asia, Africa, and Europe concealed in goods such as books, religious images, and vehicle spare parts.

To evade detection, drug traffickers use different methods to camouflage their products. For instance, farms and packaging companies have been used as fronts to hide cocaine in legitimate cargo.

Former Minister of Security in Laura Chinchilla’s government, Mario Zamora, explained that Mexican groups are taking over the southern route while eliminating their rivals. This is an evolving phenomenon in the geopolitics of crime. Meanwhile, Celso Gamboa, former Minister of Security during Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration, identified the excessive demand for the product in the United States as the main problem.

The drug trade is a serious problem that plagues Latin America and needs to be urgently addressed, especially as it is killing innocent people. It is important to collaborate with international agencies, develop effective law enforcement strategies, and combat corruption to dismantle drug trafficking networks.

In conclusion, the competition for drug trafficking routes and control in Costa Rica by Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation, and Colombian drug traffickers has led to an increase in violence in the region. The gangs use different techniques to transport their products, with maritime transport being the principal modality.

The drug trade is an evolving phenomenon that requires urgent action to dismantle the networks, collaborate with international agencies, and develop effective law enforcement strategies. It is time for Latin America to come together and address this problem, which is killing innocent people.

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