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Gang caught trying to smuggle cocaine into Donegal disguised as fruit await outcome of hearing

A well-known footballer was part of a group of six who were detained

A total of 13 people in two crime gangs were detained

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A Costa Rica crime gang which includes a well-known former soccer player that was caught as they attempted to export shipments of cocaine into Donegal disguised as banana pulp are awaiting the outcome of a hearing.

Law authorities in the South American country detained Andy Furtado Dixon (40) who has worked at the port terminal in Limon for at least six years.

He was part of a group of six who were detained on Monday, August 31, as they attempted to export cocaine hydrochloride from Costa Rica to Ireland.

Ex-International Furtado Dixon has nine international caps for Costa Rica and made his debut in a February 2007 friendly match against Trinidad and Tobago.

According to the investigation, all those defendants collaborated in an operation carried out between March 18 and 21.

On those dates they managed to introduce 3,466 kilograms of cocaine to the port terminal, which were camouflaged in a container that carried banana pulp and was to be exported to Donegal, in Ireland.

However, “despite the group's alleged illegal manoeuvres, the shipment was detected by the Drug Control Police, who found eight black bags containing the drugs," the Public Ministry said.

Local media has reported that this gang except one, was presented to the Prosecutor's Office, which requested “precautionary measures against them" as they await the outcome of a court hearing.

They are being investigated under file 21-000948-0472-PE, since they allegedly organized to "export large quantities of cocaine hydrochloride from Costa Rica to Ireland," said the Limón Deputy Prosecutor's Office, through a statement to the press.

Meanwhile, seven members of a second gang suspected of trafficking cocaine in containers out of the same port into Europe have been released by authorities in Costa Rica.

Cash was also seized

They were arrested by the Drug Control Police on August 31 for allegedly taking advantage of their jobs inside a terminal at the port of Limon to “contaminate containers with drugs”.

Those seven suspects, including two women, have been linked to the shipment of 999 kilograms of cocaine to Belgium. This drug was discovered on May 10 last when it entered that country.

They are also linked to the seizure of 640 kilos of cocaine on April 26 at the port terminal where the illegal cargo was located and inside a container.

A judge has said they must sign on every 15 days, and must not leave the country. Also, they have been banned from “disturbing or threatening the manager of APM Terminals” and keeping their address updated.

The press office for the port terminal, which is the main export point for Costa Rican exports, has promised to work hand in hand with the authorities as they criticised any "criminal behavior" of its officials.

“As a responsible company, we have zero tolerance for reports of criminal behavior, so we will continue to support investigations by the authorities,” they have been quoted as saying

“Our goal is to foster a culture among our employees that is based on safe operations, with righteousness and always with a strong commitment to doing the right thing."

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