Costa Rica toughens its stance in drug fight

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In this Jan. 25, 2013 photo, a detection officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection takes photos of a potential drug-carrying boat from inside a P3 Orion Airborne Early Warning Aircraft while flying over waters near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The Central American country abolished its army in 1948 and plowed money into education, social benefits and environmental preservation. As a result, Costa Rican officials say, the country can’t battle ruthless and well-equipped Mexican drug cartels without U.S. help. The U.S. is patrolling Costa Rica’s skies and waters and providing millions of dollars in training and equipment to Costa Rican officials who have launched a tough line on crime backed by top-to-bottom transformation of the law-enforcement and justice systems. (AP Photo/Michael Weissenstein)LIBERIA, Costa Rica (AP) — On a recent Friday morning at a gleaming new international airport in Costa Rica, hundreds of tourists from New York and Minnesota emerged blinking onto the sun-blasted tarmac. At the other end of the runway, eight Americans zipped into tan flight suits aboard a massive white surveillance plane.