Narco Helicopter Network Unmasked in Costa Rica

Narco Helicopter Network Unmasked in Costa Rica

Authorities in Costa Rica have five men believed to be part a transnational criminal group that used helicopters to transport drugs, arms and money, highlighting the country’s inability to deal with the growth of international drug trafficking within its borders.

The detention of the men comes after months of investigation into the illicit movement of helicopters in the country, which prosecutors say is being managed and paid for by a Mexican cartel and assisted by members of the Honduran military.

The operation over the weekend saw the arrest of three middle-aged brothers, a young accomplice and a government official who allegedly alerted the group to police operations.

- payin the bills -

Two helicopters were seized at a farmhouse near the Caribbean port city of Limon, alongside two of the suspects, reported La Nacion. The other suspects were picked up during 12 other raids that also turned up $35,000 on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua. Nine clandestine landing fields had previously been found, resulting in the detention of three other men including a Colombian pilot. Various arms, including AK-47 rifles, have been seized, reported La Vanguardia.

The investigation was sparked by various reports of a low-flying helicopter in the northern Caribbean region, reported La Nacion. According to Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Unit, the helicopter was bringing drugs from Colombia through Panama then refueling in Costa Rica, before carrying on to Honduras via the central Nicaraguan city of Juigalpa.

Celso Gamboa, director of the Intelligence and Security Unit, said the group was taking advantage of the fact that Costa Rica lacked the capacity to monitor illicit flights. Last week President Laura Chinchilla promised to buy more radars and two helicopters to combat this type of drug trafficking.

InSight Crime Analysis

The use of Costa Rica as a drug trafficking route has grown significantly in recent years, as drug routes through Central America have gained importance. The country is ill-equipped to deal with the growth of transnational crime, according to the US State Department’s 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. Though it does have a Coastguard, Costa Rica has no standing army or air force, so lacks the ability to effectively monitor airspace. This would make it an ideal location for drug flights to land and refuel.

- paying the bills -

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Costa Rica

The use of helicopters make this case unusual, given that they are very loud and expensive to run. It lends credence to the notion that a Mexican group was running the operation, as it must have been a very high-profit activity to make the use of helicopters viable.

  • Costa Rica

    Related Articles

    Nicaragua still the country with the greatest mobility in Central America in times of pandemic

    TODAY NICARAGUA - Eight months after the first case of Covid-19...

    Nicaragua restores 95% electricity service

    TODAY NICARAGUA - After the damages caused by Hurricane Iota a...

    MOST READ

    Rosario Murillo: La Heredera (The Heiress)

    Rosarion Murillo, the "eternally loyal" to her husband and political partner, Daniel Ortega. In a profile by Confidencial in October 2016, before her election as...

    Better Air Connectivity Between Nicaragua and the US

    The private companies' association is in talks with United Airlines to promote the opening of a route that connects Nicaragua with the east coast...

    Nicaragua Unveils Central America’s Largest Baseball Stadium

    Nicaragua has unveiled its long-awaited baseball stadium in Managua, replacing the former baseball field built in 1948. The new structure will hold up to...

    Bianca Jagger Gets Into The Nicaragua Act Again

    (American Thinker)  Remember Bianca Jagger? You know, the disco queen and former rock-star's wife turned leftwing "human rights activist" who was last seen mourning...

    What Are Some of Nicaragua’s Popular Food?

    TODAY NICARAGUA - Nicaragua is an interesting place, with a tumultuous history and a relatively peaceful present. and even if many things can be...

    Nicaragua Praised by the IMF

    The IMF noted the positive evolution of all the country's economic indicators, and the drastic fall in poverty, with an increase of 33% in...

    Poll Shows Declining Expectations on a Nicaraguan Canal

    According to the results of the most recent survey conducted by Cid Gallup, the Nicaraguan interoceanic canal project, a concession given to the Chinese...

    Let's Keep This Going!

    To be updated with all the latest news and information about Nicaragua and Latin America.

    Log In

    Forgot password?

    Forgot password?

    Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

    Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

    Log in

    Privacy Policy

    Add to Collection

    No Collections

    Here you'll find all collections you've created before.