The MexicoBlog of the CIP Americas Program monitors and analyzes international press on Mexico with a focus on the US-backed War on Drugs in Mexico and the struggle in Mexico to strengthen the rule of law, justice and protection of human rights. Relevant political developments in both countries are also covered.
Apr 3, 2012
Costa Rica Police, Justice Selling Loyalty to Drug Cartels?
InSight Crime. On March 29, Costa Rican authoritiesarrestedthe head of a drug enforcement police outfit which was stationed in San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport, the main international airport in the country. According to the Interior Ministry, the suspect accepted money from drug traffickers in exchange for allowing so-called “drug mules” to pass through airport security.
The Security Ministry has claimed that 27 police were arrested last year for criminal behavior, although it is unclear how many of these detainees had connections to drug trafficking. Police are not the only authorities to be arrested for collusion with drug trafficking networks in Costa Rica; drug cartels have also been able to penetrate relatively high levels of government. In February for instance, Walter Valverde Fernandez, an official in the anti-drug trafficking prosecutor’s office, wassentenced to 10 yearsin prison for passing on sensitive information to a Mexican drug trafficking network.
Cases like these have set off alarm bells in Costa Rica, which has long enjoyed a reputation as an outlier for its strong democratic institutions compared to other countries in Central America. With drug trafficking organizations increasingly basing their operations in the region, however, this may be set to change. Read more.