Drug Smuggling At Costa Rica’s Main Airport Up 63%

Perhaps it is due to the economic crisis or just a fast way to get rich, as many more this past year have decided to take the chance and smuggle drugs out of Costa Rica by was of the country’s major airport, the Juan Santamaría International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría), in San José.

The Policía de Control de Drogas (PCD) – drug enforcement police – reports that drug smuggling at the airport was up 63% in 2009 over 2008, confiscating some 37% more cocaine than the previous year.

The majority the 35 “burros” detained in 2008 were Europeans.

During the period of January 1 to December 31, the PCD reports confiscating 88 kilos of cocaine at the Santamaría, however, the haul for 2009 was 209 kilos.

The PCD attributes the higher level of detections to better surveillance at the airport, with the support of some 61 officers of the Policía Aeroportuaria (airport police) and the Fuerza Pública (regular police) that took the time to follow up on suspected passengers.

Most of the detainees were detected moments before they were ready to board their flight, much to do with being too nervous in the eyes of the police.



The Ministra de Seguridad Pública, Janina del Vecchio, attributed the results to better training of police and better resources at the airport to detect the transfer of illegal drugs.

Del Vecchio said that the top two countries of destination of the illegal drugs was Spain and Italy. However, police also registered drug smugglers from Israel, Britain, South Africa, United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Lithuania, Belgium, Holland, Portugal and Venezuela, among others.

The ministra made it clear that there is a zero tolerance policy at the airport and that any type of drug smuggling activity will not be tolerated.

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