Drugs lure Costa Rica’s fishermen

American authorities assisting country in drug fight.

Drug traffickers lure Costa Rica’s struggling coastal fishermen with offers of easy money

QUEPOS, Puntarenas – On June 11, 2014, 11 fishermen made history in Costa Rica.

In three separate seizures along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast from Playas del Coco to Golfito, authorities arrested the 11 fishermen who were transporting 4.1 metric tons of cocaine. The operations were carried out with cooperation and intelligence from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and they represented the most illicit drugs ever seized in a single day in the small Central American country.

If convicted, the fishermen – currently in preventive detention – could face 20 years in prison for drug trafficking. The average age of the suspects is 32.

Because they have their own boats and knowledge of Costa Rica’s infrequently patrolled coastline, Costa Rica’s artisanal fishermen are increasingly becoming targets for major drug traffickers from South America and Mexico, particularly along the Pacific drug-trafficking corridor. Overfishing and low market prices are contributing to the problem, squeezing some 15,000 families who fish with rods or longlines.

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Source: ticotimes.net

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