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20 years

Costa Rica seizes more drugs than Mexico or any country in Central America

police with cocaine

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October 30th, 2013 ( Costa Rica records the highest amount of drug seizures and arrests in all of Central America, a region where some 900 tons of cocaine is trafficked each year, mostly destined for the United States and Europe.  In fact, Costa Rica has seized more narcotics than even Mexico this year.


Security Minister, Mario Zamora said that the statistics mean that Costa Rica’s counter-narcotics programs are working.


“This gives us an indication that we are doing a good job, [especially] taking into account that other countries have two forces fighting drugs, one being the police and the other their militaries, while in our country we only have the Drug Control Police, Coast Guard, and other [civilian] authorities,” Zamora said.


The recent seizure of 1,272 kilos of cocaine in Playa Negra, Limon, brings the total seizures of the drug to 17.5 tons in Costa Rica so far this year.


That amount surpasses all other Central American countries, and even Mexico.

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  • dark451

    What this article fails to say is that Costa Rica is also closer to Colombia. It would make sense that they seize more quantities of drugs.

  • CRChris

    Minister Zamora fails to acknowledge the assistance from the US Southern Command and the US Coast Guard. He indicates all of the seizures are attributed to his small force when in fact they only get involved after receiving intel from these other agencies. The PCD has been effective at the border crossings.

  • Ken Morris

    The points about CR receiving assistance from the US (although I think other countries do too) and CR being closer to Colombia (although Panama is even closer) are well taken, but I think Zamora’s boast really only tells us what we already know, namely that the drug gangs haven’t yet infiltrated CR to the extent that they have other countries. While Zamora may or may not be doing a good job preventing this infiltration, the truth is that the drug gangs have only recently decided to expand into CR, so his job is easier than those of his counterparts elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, let’s not overlook the bigger picture. If at 17.5 tons seized out of a total of 900 tons trafficked CR has seized the most, it’s looking like well over 800 tons are still getting through. An expensive and deadly military-police effort that only achieves a 10% success rate is hardly evidence that the “programs are working.” Come on,stock traders who only make money on 10% of their trades, stores that only sell 10% of their wares, and schools that only graduate 10% of their students would hardly be regarded as successful. The standards for success in combating drug trafficking sure are low.

    • Jim Freeman

      Ken you are just about the smartest person making comments on most every thing! Where did you learn so much and what country is your country of residence?

  • expatin paradise

    That little Costa Rica is doing better than allof its neighbors combined neighbors is laudable, even if its efforts are making only a dent in the problem. Of course, the 900-ton figure is only speculative (and probably exaggerated by the DEA) and, even if accurate, would not necessarily reflect the amount passing through Costa Rica – many drug shipments bypass Costa Rica by water. Of course, if 900 tons of coke pass through CR, the amount seized is less than 2% of the traffic, not impressive in and of itself.

    Other comments have raised the issue of help from US officials in these efforts, but I am curious if the 17.5 tons include cocaine directly seized by US forces and turned over to CR officials. If so, I’d like to see the numbers on coke seized directly by CR. At any rate, if 17.5 tons amounts to more than half of all the cocaine intercepted in all of Central America and Mexico, and the total amount of traffic is anywhere near 900 tons, one has to question the wisdom of expending so many resources on such a losing proposition.

    I am glad to see that this report isolates cocaine trafficking and does not mix statistics for marijuana. It seems that the consensus opinion is that, while the same trafficking networks are employed for both drugs, they are two very different matters.

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