Costa Rica News – In 2014, the amount of contraband liquor, cigarettes and cigars reached record highs. In fact, the amount of cigars seized in 2014 was nine times the amount seized just one year earlier. There were 14 million units confiscated in just the first two month of 2014.
When looking at alcoholic beverages, there were 260,000 liters confiscated in 2013, which represents an increase of 64% compared to 2012.
The products tend to enter the country in the southern area and the docks in Limon and Puntarenas.
14.3% of the Costa Rican adult population smokes and 45% consume alcohol. These figures were compiled by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, the School of Statistics of the University of Costa Rica and the organization Educ Alcohol.
Various factors were in play during these years. For one, the authorities increased intelligence work against smuggling. Secondly, they greatly increased the amount needed to be considered criminal smuggling from $5,000 to $50,000 making smuggling lower amounts carry little to no risk. Lastly, an increase in sales tax likely led more people to chose buying illegal rather than legal products. The USA and South Africa have had similar results after increasing taxes on the products.