Costa Rica to scan all pineapple shipments after major drug bust
Costa Rica is now requiring that all shipments of fresh pineapple or its derivatives be scanned for drugs by officials at the APM Terminals Moín on the Caribbean coast, Tico Times reports.
The development follows a major drug bust, in which around two metric tons (MT) of cocaine were discovered hidden in a container of pineapples destined for Belgium.
“With the aim of guaranteeing safety and the positive image of Costa Rican exports in international markets, starting February 8, the General Directorate of Customs defined that all containers of fresh, organic pineapple and by-products such as dried, frozen pineapple, canned food, compotes, jellies, jams, puree or pineapple paste, juices and concentrates, be scanned by the port operator,” the Costa Rican government said in a statement.
The move is, in part, to “defend the reputation of Costa Rica” and comes days after authorities seized two tons of cocaine that was packed into a container with a shipment of pineapples destined for Belgium.
Costa Rica’s ports are used by drug gangs to ship drugs abroad, especially to Europe.
Industry body Canapep in October last year requested that authorities begin scanning all containers of pineapples to prevent the trade from being used for drug trafficking. Costa Rica exports an average of about 2,000 containers of pineapple per week.
Last January, Costa Rican drug police found a shipment of 110 kilos of cocaine hidden in a container with pineapple juice that was to be exported to Spain
In 2018, Spanish police seized pineapples stuffed with cocaine from Madrid’s main wholesale fruit and vegetable market. That fruit had arrived in Europe on a ship from Costa Rica.