- Photo via OIJ -
Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
During one anti-drug operation, agents from the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) arrested 16 people on suspicion of being part of a gang operating a hydroponic marijuana farm in Mercedes District, Heredia Province.
The hydroponics growing method is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture that involves growing plants without soil, by using water-based mineral nutrient solutions.
According to the police report, officers got confidential information about a property located in Heredia, where some people were growing marijuana.
After investigating the activities that were taking place on that property, officers raided the main property in Heredia plus other properties linked to the gang members located in Alajuela and San José.
During the property's initial
inspection officers found several
plastic bags containing chopped
marijuana, marijuana plants, flowers and
Official guidelines require officers to seize everything for evidence, from marijuana, cash and equipment for growing the plants.
The 16 suspects were identified as a woman of Peruvian nationality surnamed Niño-Canales (67), a man of Salvadoran nationality surnamed Hernández (53), a man of Nicaraguan nationality surnamed Laínez-Mancedo (45), and 13 Costa Ricans aged between 26 to 39.
They were taken to the cells of the Public Ministry where they were interrogated by judicial agents and now await a judge’s orders regarding pre-trial measures against them as suspects of growing marijuana.
There is a confidential bilingual tip line to report any illicit activities at 800-8000-645.
Recently, the government authorized the first company in Costa Rica to grow medical marijuana. The firm is permitted to grow and process marijuana for cannabis production in an area of 800 square meters in a greenhouse located in Guanacaste Province.
In November 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture authorized the first company to grow and process hemp. The firm is located in Guanacaste Province and seeks to grow about 150 hectares of hemp.
Last year, the government legalized medicinal and therapeutic cannabis and hemp for food and industrial use. But, recreational use, self-cultivation and self-consumption of the cannabis plant are still illegal in Costa Rica.
What should marijuana farmers do to keep their businesses within the law? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments email@example.com