A significant number of firearms registered by private security companies in Costa Rica were taken illegally to Panama or were sold to criminals. The Ministry of Public Security stopped following the track of these weapons in recent years, since most of them are weapons taken to Panama by security officers and companies and most of the times they are sold illicitly in a country whose strict controls encourage illegal trade. It is easier to get them in the black market than to buy them following the legal terms.
On the other hand, for domestics it is a lucrative business, because a gun sold at $ 1,000 in Costa Rica, can easily be sold at $ 3,000 or $ 4,000 in the black market.
According to Gustavo Mata, minister of Public Security
“weapons used in kidnappings or in bank robberies were introduced in the country by Panamanian security companies.”
However, another situation has taken place. Roberto Jimenez, Private Security Service Direction chief confirmed that there are security officers who pretend to be victims of an assault but actually sell their weapons in the border with Panama. It is more attractive to sell them in a country with many formal regulations than to sell them in the North.
In order to end this situation, the executive is preparing a requirement for security companies: they have to explain why they need armed security officers. However, minister Mata thinks this is not enough, since 78% of homicides are committed with a gun stolen from a security officer.