Q COSTA RICA – Over the 24-hour period from Tuesday, July 11 to Wednesday, July 12, the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) – Judicial Police – documented that 8 people were killed in 4 different locations: Nicoya, Pocosol de San Carlos, Barrio Cuba in San José, and Peñas Blancas de San Ramon.
This adds to the already high number of homicides carried out by hired thugs (hitmen) this year, which has seen 468 homicides compared to the 331 reported in the same period last year – the most violent year on record.
Judicial authorities and criminology experts point to these numbers as evidence of an increasing trend of drug dealing and organized crime.
The OIJ said that the four people killed in Garza de Nicoya were selling pots (as in kitchenware), but are looking into whether this could have been a cover for other criminal activities.
The way the four people in the car were killed was really savage, nothing was taken, and the driver had a history of being investigated by the police for drug possession – all this suggests that there could be multiple motives for the occurred, which the authorities are looking into as the first quadruple murder of the year.
Randall Zúñiga, the OIJ’s interim director, had already warned in March of the spread of drug trafficking in the Limón to Guápiles, Sarapiquí, northern Alajuela, and Guanacaste corridor.
Gangs including the Paveños, the Limonenses, and Alejandro Arias (also known as Diablo) are vying for control of the turf in various parts of Guanacaste – a province that has seen a spike in crimes linked to drug trafficking as well as an increase in homicides related to territory disputes.
In Guanacaste, there has been a substantial rise in the number of homicides from 2021 to 2022, with the count going from 35 to 61. Additionally, in the first six and a half months of 2023, 47 more murders have been documented in the area.
Santa Cruz and Nicoya are the two cantons in the province with the highest number of homicides this year, the majority of which are attributed to the settling of scores and revenge among rival gangs, trying to push out the already established players and take control of the beach market in places likeCoco, Tamarindo, Flamingo, and other coastal spots on the Pacific Ocean.
The region is becoming increasingly popular due to the increasing number of drug sales, as tourists are willing to pay a higher rate than locals and there is less police presence than in urban areas.
In total, 34 multiple murders have been documented in five of the seven provinces (excluding Cartago and Heredia) in the first six and a half months of 2023, a figure higher than the total number for the whole of 2022.