(Oliver Berg, AFP/Getty Images file)

1.5 tons of marijuana tossed into Caribbean as smugglers escape

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Costa Rica’s coast guard has recovered 1.5 tons of marijuana that officials say was thrown into the sea by smugglers being chased in the Caribbean after a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The country’s Public Security Ministry says the incident happened early Friday and the suspect boat escaped its Costa Rican pursuers.

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Security Minister Celso Gamboa said Saturday that the pot appeared to have come from Jamaica and that the smugglers were headed for Panama. He says the DEA alerted Costa Rica to the suspicious vessel.

Costa Rica’s government says joint anti-drug efforts with the U.S. have led to the seizure of nearly 20 tons of cocaine and 3 tons of compressed marijuana so far this year. It says 17,216 people have been arrested.