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Poaching, Drugs, and Murder in Costa Rica: Shell Game (Part 3)

In the final part of our three-part series, VICE News meets park rangers, drug dealers, and undercover agents who tell us what’s really going on in Costa Rica’s national parks and protected zones.

by VICE News
Jun 18 2015, 3:30pm

Watch Part 1

Watch Part 2

Since sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica began in the 1950s, conservationists and poachers have peacefully shared the beach. But the murder of the environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval in 2013 shocked the eco-friendly country and brought attention to a violent overlap between conservationism and drug trafficking in Costa Rica's abundant national parks and untouched coastlines.

With five percent of the world's biodiversity, the unique geography of Costa Rica is a hotspot for eco-tourism and conservation work. However, it is that same geography that makes the country so vulnerable to the violent drug trade that surrounds its borders. Costa Rica has become a major transshipment point for drug traffickers, with deadly consequences for those caught in the middle.

In the final part of our three-part series, VICE News meets park rangers, drug dealers, and undercover agents who tell us what's really going on in Costa Rica's national parks and protected zones.

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