QCOSTARICA – Police detained a man, known as the “proveedor” (supplier), dedicated to providing falsified or altered Costa Rican passports, cedulas (Costa Rican id) or licenses, to foreigners.
The arrested was made Tuesday morning by officials of the Immigration Police, in coordination with the Deputy Prosecutor’s Office for Frauds and Cybercrime, in a raid in San Cayetano, on the south side of San José.
The suspect, identified by his last names Vargas Quirós, allegedly charged between US$10,000 and US$12,000 dollars for a passport, cedula and license. It is not clear if was a combo deal or per document, depending on the needs of the client, mainly foreigners and a few Costa Ricans.
During the investigation, it was determined that Vargas had shipped documents to clients in South America, North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
One of the most sought-after documents was the Costa Rican passport, which was not forged but altered with the identity of the person who required it. It was a genuine document that was possibly stolen and then manipulated.
This document is in great demand because many countries do not ask Costa Rican citizens for visas.
According to the investigation, the documents were outside the country through courier services, which were not aware of the illicit activity.
In addition to the raid in San Cayetano, police raided a house in Escazú, where specialized printing took place. In both, evidence relevant to the investigation was seized.
This illicit activity is punishable for up to eight years in prison.