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Latino Daily News

Friday December 6, 2013

Blog del Narco: Cartels Expand Their Influence in Costa Rica

Blog del Narco: Cartels Expand Their Influence in Costa Rica

Photo: Drugs seized in Costa Rica

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Costa Rica yesterday confirmed the presence of Mexican Cartel Knights Templar in the nation and explained that the criminal gang uses Costa Rican territory as a “strategic point” for cocaine traffic from Colombia. The final destination is Mexico and the United States.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released a report yesterday, revealing that although Costa Rica stands out for its large seizure of drugs, drug penetration is serious.

“We’ve been having a very strong presence by Mexican cartels in Costa Rica, specifically the Knights Templar and (de) Sinaloa, and some other Colombian cartels also” revealed Michael Soto, head of the Office of Plans and Operations OIJ, exposing the study.

“In the 1990s we had a significant presence of Colombians bringing in drugs from Colombia to Mexico, and across the territory of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala” said the report.

From 2007 to 2012 - 68 Mexicans were arrested for drug trafficking in Costa Rica and, mostly, are the Sinaloa cartel, although there is the Gulf and La Familia Michoacana Cartels as well.

Cocaine seizures in this country increased from 7 tons in 2005 to 23.3 in 2006 and 31.4 in 2007, dropped to 16.1 in 2008, rose to 24.4 in 2009, fell to 9.9 in 2010 and 8.9 in 2011, but increased to 15.5 in 2012, he said. Panama has the most seizures in the area.

“We can not assume that we are winning this fight, since every day new organizations and ingenious methods of drug trafficking emerge” warned the director of the OIJ, Francisco Segura. The goal, he argued, is “to make sure the Cartels do not think that it is easy to settle into our territory.”

The report stated that “these Mexican and Colombian organizations act as focal points for major criminal groups from the north and are responsible for placing orders to drug groups operating in Panama and Colombia. The drugs and journey through the Central American corridor to Guatemala or Mexico, with the support of local groups and networks and transportation.

“The flow of cocaine that runs through Central America has been increasing since 2005. In fact, in 2011 the Central American countries seized 13 times more cocaine than Mexico.”

“Costa Rica ranks second in Central American cocaine trafficking route and also ranks second in the countries of the region that seizures have been made in recent years, behind only Panama,” he added.

As a “strategic point” for smuggling by land, air and sea, Costa Rica is used to store drugs, although cocaine remains longer before being forwarded by those same routes to Mexico and the United States, he said.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco

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