The Drug Thugs

Narcotics traffickers are muscling in on legitimate governments

Deep in the lush tropics near Quepos, a sleepy town on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, lies an airfield that services only small propeller-driven planes. Not long ago, Costa Rican security forces caught a band of smugglers on the runway as they unloaded 1,100 lbs. of cocaine. The cache, provided by Colombian drug lords, had been flown to Quepos aboard a Panamanian-registered Cessna piloted by a Colombian. A Costa Rican produce-export company served as the front. Had the operation run its course, the shipment would have continued on to Miami for sale in the U.S. The proceeds, estimated at $50...

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