Police in Costa Rica seized 4.3 tons of cocaine on Sunday, the largest drug bust this year, and second-largest in the country’s history, Reuters reports.
The discovery was made on a commercial ship originating in Columbia, carrying a container filled with ceramic floor tiling. The Drug Control Police inspected the vessel upon its arrival at the Port of Moín. “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 of Public Security said in a statement, per The Tico Times.
The largest drug bust ever in Costa Rica occurred just over a year ago when more than five tons of cocaine were found stashed in decorative plants on a ship headed to the Netherlands. The haul was worth an estimated $100 million. Costa Rican officials have grown increasingly concerned about the country’s role in transporting drugs from Columbia throughout Europe.
In March, two boats—a speedboat and fishing boat—containing 1.1 tons of cocaine were tracked down near the town of Sierpe. Of the six men arrested, two were Costa Rican and four were Columbian.
“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. The Security Ministry reports that 57 tons of cocaine were seized in 2020, a 57 percent increase from the year prior.