Costa Rica and USA Continue to Ramp up Efforts on the War on Drugs
Crime levels in Costa Rica are among the lowest in the region, but many the Tico’s (Costa Ricans) fear possibility of Mexico’s cartels moving into Costa Rica and that they could become like Mexico, Honduras or Guatemala, where drug cartels cause chaos fear to ensure the drug flow keeps moving.
In 1948, Costa Rica abolished its army, putting the money into education, social programs and environmental conservation. As a result, Costa Rica is poorly equipped to take on the Mexican drug cartels. In Joint efforts, the U.S. is patrols and monitors the Costa Rica skies and water ways and also donated millions of dollars for training and equipment helping the Costa Rica to implement a transformation of its law-enforcement and justice systems to deal with escalating effort of the drug cartels.
Costa Rica has the closest relation with US out of the Central American countries and has been implementing joint drug and crime efforts for many years.
Costa Rica has become a base for warehousing and repackaging drugs from Colombia that are then sent north to Mexico and the U.S., and. Investigations have confirmed the presence of Mexico’s cartels, including and further suspects the presence of groups allied with the Zetas, the brutal paramilitary cartel blamed for some of Mexico’s most gruesome drug war slaughters.
Costa Rica’s growing role as a transit point in international smuggling has fed the growth of local drug markets, criminal organizations and related crimes.
The country’s crime levels remain the second-lowest in Central America, after Nicaragua (and many debate that as Nicaragua fails to report much criminal and drug related crimes), and while tourism hasn’t suffered, concern about crime among Costa Ricans has risen in recent years.
In response, Costa Rica’s conservative government is working for freer wiretapping laws, easier confiscation of criminal assets and more joint efforts with the USA. And also wants to drop a longstanding ban on extraditing Costa Ricans for prosecution.
The US is equipping Costa Ricans with equipment such as night vision goggles to a $2 million satellite and radio communications station on the Pacific Coast linked to the U.S. anti-drug command in Key West. The U.S. spent more than $18.4 million in direct security to Costa Rica last year.
In the fight against the War on Drugs the United States has f two coast guard stations on the Pacific coast and donated two new interceptor boats worth $1.8 million. The USA also funded Costa Rican police training with Latin American military special operations forces The U.S. has also spent more than $500,000 to help build a police crime-mapping computer
These efforts are producing more arrests and seizures, although they acknowledge that the rising numbers may also be driven by a higher volume of drugs entering the country. Seizures of cocaine are on the rise, hitting 15 metric tons last year.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica