Police in Costa Rica Seize 4.3 Tons of Cocaine, 2nd-Largest Drug Bust in Country's History

Costa Rica Ministry of Public Security

The Costa Rican government did not name the syndicate that has been smuggling drugs into the Central American country, The Independent reported.

Police in Costa Rica seized 4.3 tons of cocaine Saturday, making it the second-largest drug bust in the country’s history, as well as the biggest capture of narcotics this year, according to Reuters.

Authorities in San Jose said that the drugs originated in Colombia.

The massive shipment of the drug was transported in a container loaded with ceramic floor tiling aboard a commercial ship that arrived at the Costa Rican port of Moin from Colombia's Caribbean port of Turbo, Costa Rica's Security Ministry said.

Authorities say the bricks of cocaine were wrapped in what appeared to be a bootleg Audi logo, possibly throw off the Drug Control Police in Costa Rica. However, the plan did not work as upon inspection, the drugs were found inside a hidden container, authorities said.

“In the inspection process carried out by the PCD officers, who located a suspicious container inside the Cala Palma ship, this container carried 173 packages that apparently contained cocaine and which were among the legal cargo of ceramic,” the ministry said in the statement.

The PCD then identified 4,329 packages filled with cocaine, each weighing approximately one kilogram, the Tico Times reported.

In 2019, one ton of cocaine had an approximate $13 million value on the street in North America, according to local CBS outlet CBS 17 in Georgia. It is unknown how much the value of one ton is worth in 2021 but according to 2019 figures, the street value of the 4.3 tons of cocaine discovered in Costa Rica would be over $55 million.

Costa Rica’s ports have been used by drug gangs to ship drugs abroad, especially to Europe, the Tico Times reported.

With the help of U.S. authorities, authorities in nearby Panama last week seized an additional 5.4 tons of cocaine that was on its way to Costa Rica, The Independent reported.

Costa Rican authorities seized nearly 57 tons of cocaine in 2020, up 56% from a year earlier, according to the Security Ministry. They seized 14.5 tons of marijuana last year, Reuters reported.

"We're very close to 40 tons of marijuana and cocaine seizures in the country (so far in 2021). We hope to surpass last year's numbers," Security Minister Michael Soto said in a statement.

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