The Costa Rica News (TCRN)- The vessel Captain Erson P271, arrested last Sunday near Galapagos Islands with 983 kilos of cocaine in Ecuador, was also part of an anti-drug operation in November of 2012, 346 miles from Cabo Blanco, Puntarenas, when it was arrested with 1,081 kilos of drugs.

In less than six months this ship was caught with a total of 2,064 kilos of cocaine, and despite this fact, it received fuel subsidies for ¢16 million between 2012 and 2013 by the Fishing and Aquaculture Costa Rican Institute (INCOPESCA).

According to a report by the Department of Protection, Registration and Fuels of INCOPESCA, the boat has received a total of 23,060 gallons of diesel. “According to our records the boat has medium-scale commercial fishing license under the name of Mr. Moses Lopez Avalos. During the year he has purchased fuel at preferential prices for a total of around c16 million colones “, said the office.

Last Sunday authorities also arrested two Costa Ricans known by their last names Piedra Quesada and Guzman Lopez.

In the operation that took place on November 29, 2012, 346 miles from Cabo Blanco, four people were arrested: Acevedo Acevedo, Vega Parrales, Pizarro Abarca and Reyes Castillo, who, along with the boat, were detained by Golfito´s Attorney. However, the vessel “Captain Erson” was returned to its owners after a decision by Golfito´s Criminal Court.

In relation to this fact, INCOPESCA CEO, Luis Dobles, stated that the subsidized fuel can only be denied to people with open criminal cases, or who have been legally sentenced. In this particular case, since the boat was returned to its owners, he explained, they could count on the fuel subsidy.

Mario Zamora, Security Minister, said that 90 percent of the vessels involved in drug trafficking have been granted subsidized fuel by INCOPESCA.

Since 2008, State authorities have warned that the country lacks mechanisms, studies and capacity to control this subsidy scheme and that it is not possible to know its proper use.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica