So far this year, the country's Narcotics Department (PCD) has intercepted 9 containers with a total of 6,974 kilos of cocaine at APM Terminals. The latest seizure took place last Tuesday when authorities intercepted 105 packages of cocaine hidden in the cooling unit of a container loaded with bananas bound for the port of Hamburg.
Laura Bonilla, the president of the Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica (Cadexco), said that they were making important efforts to put into operation a second scanner at the terminal managed by the Dutch firm because of the increase in drugs detections at APM Terminals, mainly in perishable product cargo.
The only scanner that works in APM Terminals operates from San Jose through the Remote Information Center (CIR), where there is personnel from the Ministry of Finance and other state agencies, and it is mainly used to scan pineapple shipments, as they have a greater risk of being contaminated with drugs. In fact, the General Customs Directorate ordered all containers destined for the export of pineapples and its derivates to be scanned after authorities detected 2 tons of cocaine hidden in a container of these fruits bound for Belgium on February 3 of this year.
Exporters are asking for more scanners because drug trafficking organizations manage to place the drug in other shipments.
Bonilla said they were worried about the increase in the volume of drugs seized smuggled in legal shipments. He also said that the constant passage of drugs through APM Terminals affected perishable exports, as the operations to remove the drugs were long and affected the product's shelf life.
The president of Cadexco also called for a comprehensive program that includes scanners in other sea, air, and land ports in the country.