The Costa Rican Coast Guard seized a submarine carrying nearly 4,000 pounds of cocaine and arrested three crew members with drug trafficking.
The incident took place in the Pacific Ocean, near the country’s border with Panama, on Oct. 18.
The Costa Rican Coast Guard said it seized 1,788 packets of cocaine onboard the semi-submersible, each weighing around 2.2 pounds.
The Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security shared footage of the bust on social media and said: “The Minister of Public Security, Mr. Michael Soto Rojas, referred to the recent coup against drug trafficking, where the Costa Rican Coast Guard intercepted a semi-submersible with a drug shipment and captured a crew 40 kilometres [25 miles] off the coast of Golfito in Puntarenas in the South Pacific.
“As part of its work with other countries … the Costa Rican Coast Guard received information from the Colombian authorities and deployed an interceptor boat to the sector where the suspicious vessel was located.”
Two of the arrested crew members were Colombian nationals and the third was Ecuadorian.
The Costa Rican authorities identified the suspects operating the narco submarine as Montano, Colombian, 46, Mina, Colombian, 30; and Vargas, Ecuadorian, 27. None of the men had a criminal record in the country.
The police also described the vessel that had smuggled the drugs. It said “authorities confiscated the low-profile, gray semi-submersible boat, 45 feet long, without name or flag, and three engines of 75 HP each, as well as electronic navigation and communication equipment.
“The three detainees were presented to the Public Ministry for the apparent crime of drug trafficking.”
Costa Rican security forces also carried out two seizures on March 16 and 18, 2021, seizing 3.2 tons of cocaine in the Limón province, on the Caribbean coast, according to the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security.
The operation was coordinated with intelligence support from Colombia, Panama and the United States. “This cocaine enters the national territory, it is stored … and it is what we sometimes find when inspecting containers that are bound for Europe” said Soto Rojas, Minister of Public Security.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Northland also successfully intercepted several suspected drug smuggling ships in September in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The patrol resulted in the seizure of 7,833 pounds of cocaine.
Edited by Fern Siegel and Kristen Butler
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