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article imageCosta Rica busts narco ring linked to Mexican kingpin

By AFP     Nov 9, 2016 in World

Costa Rican police on Wednesday arrested 14 suspects when they busted a drug-running ring linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, the network formerly run by jailed kingpin Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, officials said.

The suspects were arrested in two dozen raids, adding to 10 others already taken into custody over the course of the investigation, Security Minister Gustavo Mata said in a news conference alongside President Luis Guillermo Solis.

Since 2014, police have seized three tonnes of cocaine and $1.7 million from the organization, which smuggled drugs by land, sea and air from Ecuador and Colombia mainly to Mexico, he said.

Solis called the operation a "fundamental blow" to the gang, which he said owned a large number of properties, vehicles, boats and other assets.

In April a plane allegedly used by the ring crashed in northwestern Costa Rica with 250 kilograms of cocaine and $45,000 on board. The two occupants, both Mexicans, were killed.

Last week, police raided a farm belonging to the suspected members of the organization and found 432 kilograms of cocaine and $1.6 million dollars in cash.

Central American nations including Costa Rica serve as transit points for narcotics smuggled from South America to Mexico and on to the United States.

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