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Drug trafficking has become one of Costa Rica's major security problems, both due to the transit of international drug shipments and disputes among local gangs
The murder of a law enforcement officer during an undercover operation on Wednesday night has raised further alarms about security in Costa Rica, a country currently facing its worst homicide crisis in history.
"The situation is grave, and it's terrible. We must take action to change these conditions. It cannot be that situations like these are becoming normalized," the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) Director Randall Zuñiga stated.
OIJ agent Geiner Gomez and his partner were seriously injured when they were shot at from a motorcycle while traveling in a vehicle in the Tirrases de Curridabat area, east of San Jose. Two suspects, aged 17 and 21, were apprehended.
"There hasn't been a clear directive to support law enforcement agencies. We have a fire in the kitchen, and if we don't address it, the entire house will burn down," Zuñiga expressed, urging both the Executive and the Legislative branches for more actions on security matters.
The OIJ director emphasized the need to increase investment in security to bolster law enforcement and provide officers with the necessary equipment for combating crime.
#CostaRica is among several LAC countries seeing a surge in violence due to increased drug trafficking. Together with Ecuador they were very calm countries, with low levels of violence. They did not act in time and now it might be already too late. https://t.co/T8YipTyKFq
"Costa Rica has always been a peaceful country, and that is changing. I wouldn't want to see this country deteriorate. We still have the opportunity to make a change, but our police are fighting crime at a disadvantage," Zuñiga said, insisting on the urgency of "stronger leadership from state authorities" to tackle the issue of insecurity head-on.
Costa Rica, a country without a military since 1948, relies on its police forces for security and is currently experiencing the worst homicide crisis in its history. On Sept. 22, the country reached 655 homicides, which was the highest figure in a nation with a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Authorities attribute most of the homicides to territorial disputes among drug trafficking gangs and project that by the end of 2023, the number will exceed 800 homicides.
Drug trafficking has become one of Costa Rica's major security problems, both due to the transit of international drug shipments and disputes among local gangs. This week, there was a meeting between President Rodrigo Chaves and judicial authorities to analyze the situation.