Drugs, Exports and Lack of Control

An activity that generates nearly $1 billion a year in Costa Rica in exports is being seriously threatened by the infiltration of drug traffickers, who are taking advantage of loopholes left open by the government because it does not have an adequate system for checking containers and registering exporters.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The most recent seizure of 45 kilos of drugs that arrived in the United States in the corrugated bottom of 20 cardboard boxes of pineapples from San Carlos has once again set alarm bells ringing in the export sector, which has ceaselessly demanded that authorities to go back to the "in situ" review system of cargo, which used to be carried out before and stopped during the Solís administration.

Abel Chaves, president of the National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters (Canapep), told Nacion.com: "...The damage that they are doing not only to the country, through its image, but also to the sector itself (is big). This can lead to the country becoming less competitive. It may mean that in countries where pineapples are coming in to Costa Rica, for them to have greater security, (shipments) go through scanners and this could result in an additional cost for the industry."

In addition to returning to on-site container inspections, Chaves suggests maintaining an updated and stricter record of authorized exporters. 

The concern of pineapple producers and exporters of other agricultural products that have also been used to transport drugs, is centered around the loss of competitiveness that this generates, and the negative impact on the image of the sector and the country. 

The most serious thing is that this is not a new problem.  Discoveries of drug in Costa Rican agricultural exports have been discovered before, and it has been happening with increasing frequence in recent years.

See: "Alert on drugs in agroexports" and "Drugs in export cargo: And the scanners?"

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