According to data from the Ministry of Security in 2019, 45.7 metric tons of cocaine and marijuana were seized, surpassing 35.5 metric tons seized in 2018.
The numbers place Costa Rica as the best U.S. ally at the regional level in strategic alliances to combat drug trafficking (# 1 in quantity seized).
The information was released by the Minister of Security, Michael Soto, during the visit of the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, to the facilities of the Joint Operations Center, located at Base 2 of the Juan Santamaría airport.
Also, during the visit some scopes of cooperation between both countries were announced, such as the helicopter program, which was reinforced last April with the donation of four twin-engine UH-1ST helicopters by the Office of Anti-Narcotics Affairs, Security and Justice (INL), and which will be used in the fight against drug trafficking, humanitarian work and rescue.
The acquisition, through a mixed budget of Costa Rica-United States, of the first King Air 250 aircraft that functions as a radar platform for patrolling and surveillance against organized crime and four vessels for the National Coast Guard Service that will strengthen the fight was also rescued.
The Government emphasized to Pompeo the model that Costa Rica represents for the region for the comprehensive approach to attention to the issue of security, with a preventive approach , which involves communities, local governments and national and police authorities.
In addition, the “Sow Safety” Program was developed, which is developed in collaboration with the police, municipalities and civil society.
Other issues addressed during Pompeo’s visit were tourism security and the efforts that Costa Rica has developed in this field.
In this regard, the annual budget of one million dollars was pointed out to strengthen tourism security, which allows the Ministry of Public Security and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute to buy equipment for the Tourist Police (vehicles, uniforms, radios, motorcycles), conduct training in security, as well as the construction of delegations in Tamarindo, Guanacaste (₡ 350 million) and Santa Teresa de Cóbano, Puntarenas (₡ 200 million).
Pompeo made a visit to the Joint Operations Center before leaving the country after a meeting with President Alvarado and several ministers held in the morning hours.