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October 15th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The large cache of military weapons and a heliport discovered in the Northern Zone of the country are part of a drug trafficking organization that sought to establish a major “base” in the north of Costa Rica, according to official and unofficial sources.
Police in Costa Rica seized an arsenal of military weapons, including assault rifles and a rocket launcher hidden in a camp in Cutris de San Carlos, a mountainous area near the border with Nicaragua last week.
A total of 24 AK-47 assault files, three M-16’s, an RPG-7 rocket launcher, and other large-caliber weapons in addition to a large quantity of ammunition and fuel were found on a finca in Cutris de San Carlos, Alajuela. The weapons were new and well cared for, Security Minister Mario Zamora said at the time.
Recent information from both official and non-official sources indicate that drug traffickers were in the first phase of building a major settlement in the area. In addition to the weapons stockpile and heliport, a house and other buildings were in the first phase of construction.
Camouflage military uniforms were found on the property that were tagged as belonging to the Honduran military. Unofficial sources said they believe that the uniforms were provided by a Honduras-based narco cell associated with the Mexican cartel, Los Zetas.
At least a dozen specially-encrypted Blackberry phones and stockpiles of food were also located on the property.
According to sources, a tractor found on the property that was used to carve a road to the settlement was purchased for $14,000 in cash, delivered in a rice sack.
Sources also report that buried landmines and anti-tank weaponry were found on the property.
Unofficial sources have also pointed to the possible implication of a former police chief, and report that the property is owned by a man of Dutch nationality and managed by a San José – based businessman who may now be on the run.
Sources also indicate that the group may have been linked to a smuggling ring in Limon, who would receive drugs in the Caribbean for further transport north.
Area residents are fearful to speak about the camp, believing they could become targets for retaliation.
Police sources believe that at least eight men operated on the camp.
Authorities are keeping tight-lipped in regards to the investigation, citing the fact that the investigation is ongoing.
Authorities are, however linking the discovery of a specially outfitted Ford F-350 truck in the area to the group. The truck featured a custom-made rear camper, containing beds, kitchen, and a bathroom. At least 50 kilos of cocaine were discovered in hidden compartments of the vehicle, in addition to weapons, cash, GPS systems, ammunition, canned food, and phone and credit cards.
The vehicle was also outfitted with run-flat tires and an armored gas tank. Authorities have nicknamed the vehicle the “Black Beast.” Judicial Police estimate the vehicle to be worth some $140,000.
The vehicle had no plates or Costa Rican registration, but unofficial sources said documents were found that would indicate that the vehicle was originally of Mexican origin.
The vehicle was seized on October 6th in Boca Tapada Pital, San Carlos.