Tackling organized crime in Costa Rica
Costa Rica sits at a crossroads linking North and South America, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. As such it is increasingly attractive to organized crime groups wanting to connect a drug-producing region with the world’s drug-consuming markets.
Because there is fierce competition in the drug trade for available markets, some of the crime areas most affecting Costa Rica include extortion, kidnapping, murder, money laundering and trafficking in firearms, people and counterfeit goods.
Since organized crime groups operate at a global level, Costa Rican law enforcement needs to cooperate with counterparts in all continents. The role of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in San Jose is therefore central to safeguarding Costa Rica’s national security.
INTERPOL in Costa Rica
NCB San Jose is Costa Rica’s lead agency for taking criminal investigations beyond national borders and working with police forces in other countries and continents.
The NCB is part of the Criminal Investigations Police (Organismo de Investigación Judicial – OIJ) which regularly takes part in INTERPOL-led operations. The OIJ is an operational unit, whose officers can exercise police power across the country, including the power of arrest.
The NCB conducts regional and global crime analysis in cooperation with NCBs worldwide, supporting crime investigations requiring regional or global outreach, particularly as they relate to organized crime affecting Costa Rica.
Costa Rican national law enforcement
The OIJ and the National Police (Fuerza Pública) are Costa Rica’s two principal law enforcement bodies. The OIJ is in charge of investigating serious crime at national and transnational level.