(Then24.com) The Government of the United States outlined four priorities that Costa Rica must assume to maintain its commitment to fight against drug trafficking, as part of its conclusions included in the Report on the International Strategy for Narcotics Control 2023 (INCSR for its acronym in English).
In this document issued by the United States Department of State and signed by President Joe Biden, the country is asked to take into account the points, knowing the financial situation and general scarcity of resources of the national authorities.
The US maintains that efforts are being made “to sustainably maintain and operate capital assets, to include much-needed staffing increases in police forces.” Top priorities should include:
- Professionalize police and judicial institutions, with emphasis on the fight against corruption.
- Investment in border and port security, to include increased use of scanning technology.
- Strengthen Costa Rica’s cooperation with regional partners.
- Efforts to expand citizen security best practices within Costa Rica and throughout the region.
The document highlights that the country remains on the list of nations identified as producers of illicit drugs and/or drug transit countrieswhich is notified to Congress by the President, pursuant to section 706(1) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107-228).
In addition to Costa Rica, there are Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, the Dominican Republic
Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
The report notes that one of the focuses of criminal problems today is in the local criminal groups, because they have sought to leave more drugs in the country compared to other times when the territory was only exported or used for storage and transit.
“Costa Rica has a growing problem of internal drug consumption, since the drugs stored in Costa Rica increasingly enter the local market and the National Criminal Organizations Gain Influence With Increased Narcotics Revenues”, explains the official document.
In the section on Drugs and Chemical Control carried out by the Office of International Narcotics Affairs and Law Enforcement, it stands out that our country continues to be the main transshipment point for cocaine en route to the United States from South America.
“(…) it is a key transit point in international drug trafficking. Costa Rica due to its geographic location, vast maritime territory, and historically small and underfunded security becomes an attractive transit and storage center for illicit drug trafficking“, highlights the US government study.
As part of the investigation, data on the importation and distribution of chemical precursors was revealed, where Costa Rica also appears among the countries identified as the main precursors of this business for the production of illicit narcotics.
Despite the fact that there is a strict licensing process here for the importation and distribution of these products, there are essential controls, as defined in the Convention on Drugs.
“The National Drug Plan 2020-2024 of the Government of Costa Rica highlights the problem of the production and trafficking of chemical precursors. Costa Rica has yet to seize large quantities of chemicals compared to other places in the region and has a low volume of imports.
However, it has a robust registration process and responds to requests for suspicious information.
The Costa Rican Institute on Drugs has a special unit dedicated to the control and regulation of chemical precursors, and this unit has broad powers to monitor and respond to illegal activity”, they reveal.
By law, importers and companies that handle chemical precursors or certain types of prescription drugs must submit monthly reports through an online monitoring system.
According to data from the Department of State, between January and October 2022, there were 1,913 authorized import transactions, licensed to 261 registered importers of precursor chemicals.
The system tracks the movement of precursor chemicals and solvents and generates alerts. Costa Rica did not receive any alerts during that period related to possible irregular import activity.