Sunday 24 September 2023

Group charged migrants US$22K to get them to the United States.

Arrested were 21 people in 15 raids in Costa Rica in an early Tuesday morning raid; police action was also taken at the same time in Panama

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23 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – A Costa Rican-Panamanian criminal structure charged migrants of 13 different nationalities up to US$22,000 to take them illegally from South America to the United States.

Photo from Immigration Facebook page

The part of the group in Costa Rica was dismantled Tuesday morning with the arrest of 21 of its members in 15 raids by the Immigration Police, Fuerza Publica (National Police), the Air Surveillance Service, the Drug Control Police (PCD) and the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), all under the direction of the Deputy Prosecutor’s Office against Trafficking in Persons.

Simultaneously, the National Police of Panama carried out operations under the instruction of the Organized Crime Prosecutor of that country.

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In Costa Rica, 19 men and 2 women were detained, who are divided according to the place where they operated:

In the Southern Zone (Panama border) – Arias Molina (leader of the organization), Blanco Mora, Pérez Jiménez, Cajina Agüero, Agüero Mesen, Rodríguez Orozco, Gutiérrez Cortés, Jiménez Madrigal, Montiel Montiel, Miranda Ortiz, Lobo Muñoz, Torres Marchena, Vásquez Artavia, Leal Molina (woman) and Bejarano Morales (woman).

In the Northern Zone (Nicaragua border) – Salgado Murillo (leader of the organization), López Carmona, Hernández Rodríguez, Zelaya García, García Chávez and Hernández Martínez.

The structure distributed functions to receive migrants in Panama and enter them illegally into Costa Rica, where they housed and hid them while they managed to transport them to the border with Nicaragua.

According to the logistical complications, the group charged between US$14,000 and US$22,000, as explained by the Minister of Public Security (MSP), Michael Soto Rojas.

The Minister explained that during the investigation it was determined that the final destination of the victims was the United States; a situation that the gang took advantage of by taking advantage of the need of these people to migrate regardless of whether they put their lives at risk.

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The investigation lasted approximately a year and with it, it was found that migrants were from Yemen, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Angola, Mauritania, Haiti, Cuba, Chile and Venezuela.

During the investigation, only 174 migrants trafficked by the criminal structure were identified.

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