Costa Rica Editorial – The purpose of this editorial is to point out a problem. If you have a problem with it I really do not care. If the Costa Rican legal system continues to keep dishing out light punishments and slaps on the wrist for those involved with narcotrafficking nothing is going to fixed and the cartels will continue to set up shop within the borders of Costa Rica.
After the death of Jairo Mora which revolved around turtle eggs being used in the drug trade here in Costa Rica; the suspects were given preventative detention which is basically like grounding a child for a few months before the trial. That preventative detention is still going on as the trial has still not started while Jairo is in his grave.
When narcotraffickers are caught in Costa Rica the punishment that is given to them normally does not deter them or others from taking the risk.
Just this past Wednesday, the Criminal Court of Golfito sentenced 3 fisherman to three months of pre-trial preventive detention that were suspected of carrying 960 kilos of cocaine in their fishing boat. How was this something they were “suspected” of? The boat was randomly inspected and there were 960 kilos of cocaine found.
What were these 3 fisherman that probably make less than $1000 total a month between them given? Three months of preventative detention before a long drawn out trial process that will result in some sentence.
Let’s say that they hypothetically were going to make a minimal $100 per kilo that they were running, which really is probably a low ball number. That means they were going to be paid $96,000 upon delivery. That would equal about 8 years of labor at their day job of being fisherman. With the trial process having the possibility of taking years and only preventative detention seen as the punishment as most trials resulting in a slap on the wrist it does not deter them from taking these risks.
The only way that narcotrafficking is going to be dealt with is by making the punishment handed down something that someone would think twice about. But can that really be done? The prisons are already over crowded. The poverty level continues to rise in the country and according to Maslow’s Hierarchy if you start taking away someones food, shelter, and other basic necessities crime will result in order to fight for their lives.
Fighting drug trafficking is pretty much a futile battle. Look at the amount of money that the USA spends and I would bet that less than 10% of the shipments are actually seized entering the country. Throw in the fact that police officers in Costa Rica only make about $600 to $1000 a month and it is easy to see why many are on the take.
Is there a solution to the problem? Should drugs become legal and the sales of them taxed and monitored?
I don’t know if there is an answer. But when the President of a country is flying on an alleged drug traffickers private jet I think there is a problem that needs to be addressed.