Srug related killings have been almost daily in the past several weeks in San Jose. Photo Luis Navarro/La Nacion
Srug related killings have been almost a daily occurrence in the past several weeks in San Jose. Photo Luis Navarro/La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – Only two out of ten homicides in San Jose this year and attributed, mostly, to the drug gangs, has been resolved by the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).

According to the OIJ, between January and September 2015 there have been 90 “drug related” killings in the Gran Area Metropolitana de San Jose (GAM), but only 18 cases have been closed.

Of these crimes, 33 were committed in the canton of San Jose, 18 in Desamparados, 11 in Tibas, 11 in Alajuelita, four in Montes de Oca (San Pedro) and the rest throughout the other cantons.

Nationally, the number of killings are 168, up to September.

Last year there were 190, of which 100 were committed in the GAM.

The deputy director of the OIJ (a full-time director has not yet been chosen) says these types of crimes are difficult to solve because the perpetrators leave little or no trace behind.

“They (the suspects) carry out their crimes on motorcycles, wear black clothing and helmets, making it difficult for identification by witnesses. The other aspect is that, many of the witnesses are very afraid to talk,” said Avila.

Although it is presumed that those responsible are paid-for-hire killers, Avila explained that it is impossible to know if the “hit” was for payment.

The killings are easily linked to the illegal drug trade because the victims are not robbed, just a target of execution, typically with a history of drug-related issues.

The OIJ chief adds that many of the killings are results of turf war of the drug trade, stemming from direct hits by authorities on their criminal structure, in particular on the south side of San Jose, that includes Desamparados and Alajuelita.

The drug seizures generate vengeance. “They (victim) may have been suspected of being a snitch,” said Aliva.

The latest was on October 9, when two or more heavily armed men opened fire with high calibre weapons on Omier Taylor in San Francisco de Dos Rios. The Limon native was gunned down in broad daylight, after getting into a taxi. Wounded in the attack were his girlfriend and the taxi driver, responding to call, to take the couple to the Limon bus stop.

The ministro de Seguridad (Security Minister), Gustavo Mata, says the investigation into these type of killings must be different, “must be viewed through the prism of organized crime”.

The Minister said he considers the need to create a new section of the OIJ specializing in combating organized crime. “The solving of cases is very low by the OIJ. Of the 410 homicides occurred last year, only 37% were solved,” said Mata.

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