He is 25, identified by his last names Morales Vega and alleged to be the mastermind behind the kidnapping of 43-year-old William Sean Creighton, who went missing in Costa Rica last September 24 and hasn’t been heard of since.
Morales, his mother, 45-year-old mother (Vega Aguirre) and his girlfriend (Solis Chaves) were living large in Zaragoza, Spain, apparently with the ransom money paid by Creighton’s family for his return.
However, on Friday the party came to an end when in a predawn raid by Spain’s Guardia Civil, all three were arrested.
The trio are the upper part of the structure that, presumably, kidnapped Creighton and whose whereabouts are still a mystery.
In Costa Rica, nine others were arrested by the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) in a series of raids that took place La Unión de Cartago, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Ipis, El Alto de Goicoechea, La Trinidad de Moravia, and Siquirres. All are Costa Ricans and all allegedly linked to the kidnapping.
Among the arrested in Costa Rica were Morales’ uncle, identified as Vega Aguirre and 71-year-old grandmother, surnamed Aguirre Leal.
The OIJ on Friday detailed the movements of Morales and what led them to the arrests in Costa Rica and in Spain with the cooperation of Spanish authorities.
Walter Espinoza, director of the OIJ, though he did not detail the timeline, explained that Morales left Costa Rica by land to Panama where he then traveled by air to El Salvador and then to Cuba where he spent about a month before continuing on his journey (escape) to Spain.
In Spain, he moved around some, first living in Alicante – some 400 kilometers from Madrid – then moving to Zaragoza, where he was arrested on Friday.
Once settled in Spain, his mother and girlfriend who had stayed behind in Cuba, joined him. In fact, Cuban authorities provided important information for the investigation.
“They left the country sequentially. The first was Morales Vega. Then Vega Aguirre, Solís Chaves, another accused of surnamed Sanabria and a man surnamed Vega Aguirre (uncle of the young man), who were in Cuba together with Morales. They (Sanabria and Vega Aguirre) have returned to the country. The only ones who have remained outside since the days close to the kidnapping is the leaders of the organization,” said Espinoza.
At the time of the arrest in Zaragoza, there were two other Costa Ricans present but were not related to the kidnapping. The two are believed to be relatives of the accused, one of which is a minor.
In their investigation, the OIJ learned that Morales never worked nor had any previous contact with the victim, however, did have extensive knowledge on the subject of the ‘bitcoins’ cryptocurrency.
Who is the victim?
William Sean Creighton in an American national naturalized in Costa Rica through marriage to a Costa Rican who reported him missing the day following his disappearance.
Also known as “Tony”, he is described as a wealthy businessman linked to the business of online sports betting. His company, 5Dimes, is an online sportsbook with customers from all over the world. This type of business is prohibited in the United States, thus most of the activity takes place in Latin American and Asian countries where it is permitted.
The OIJ said that during their investigation into the kidnapping they learned that Creighton was the subject in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation for alleged money laundering.
The OIJ director said that during their investigation into the kidnapping they learned that mother Morales spent time outside the 5Dimes offices located in the Equus building in San Pedro, a short distance north of San Pedro Mall.
Espinoza said she is the one who alerted the crew when ‘Tony’ left the building.
Allegedly involved in the kidnapping the night of September 24 were two transito (traffic) officers, identified by their last names Medrano Vargas and Jiron Lopez. Their role was to follow the vehicle driven by Creighton and then pulled him over.
Once pulled over, Creighton was abducted (no details where given) and his vehicle was driven off by a man identified as Ford Dowdon, who was in a pick-up following Creighton and the traffic cops. Ford drove the vehicle to San Francisco de Heredia, where he lost control. There he left the vehicle, a Porsche Cayenne.
At grandma’s house
The OIJ determined that the kidnappers took Creighton to a house with a large yard in La Trinidad de Moravia, grandma’s house, and from where he has never been heard from again.
Creighton’s wife reported the disappearance the following day, on September 25.
After paying a ransom of US$1 million dollars in bitcoins Creighton never showed up. The kidnappers had demanded US$5 million.
“His family received extortion calls and made a significant payment to secure his release; However, since September 24, the police and his family have no information on his whereabouts,” explained Espinoza.
“We are interested in finding indications that allow us to identify the fate or whereabouts of the foreigner whose freedom was deprived and to locate him in any way possible,” said the OIJ chief.
“The OIJ with its experts managed to establish that one of the members of the organization had access to the (bitcoin) wallets and had connected from a home in Moravia, to where we tracked the IP address and specified the location,” said Espinoza.
The location is grandma’s house.
What comes next
As of Friday afternoon, the OIJ reported continuing their search the home hoping to find clues that could lead them to Creighton’s whereabouts.
Meanwhile, the Ministerio Publica (Prosecutor’s Office) and OIJ now working on the process of extradition for the three in Spain.