The three Costa Ricans – mother, son, and his girlfriend, suspected of heading the kidnapping of an American businessman – lived it up in Zaragoza, Spain until the short arm of Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) caught up with them.
In this Spanish city, 25-year-old Morales Vega, his mother Vega Aguirre and girlfriend Solis Chaves, wanted by the OIJ for the kidnapping of William Sean Creighton on September 24, 2018, tried to hide, trying not to attract attention, however, paid high rents and had planned to purchase a luxury SUV.
“They were seen living a higher standard of living than they had in their country of origin, daily moving about in taxis and staying in homes for which they paid up to 800 euros (over US$900) per week,” reported Spain’s Guardia Civil (police).
In their report, the Guardia Civil noted the three gave wrong contact information and changed their address frequently, but lived houses with a high rents, the latest paying more than US$3,300 dollars, used taxis to move about the city and were planning to buy a luxury sports utility vehicle, among other luxuries.
The money is alleged to have come from the almost US$1 million dollars in bitcoins ransom paid by Creighton’s family. The kidnappers had demanded US$5 million dollars.
The investigation into Morales, belived to be the mastermind of the operation, reveals that he left Costa Rica headed for Cuba where he remained there for some time. His mother and girlfriend joined him later.
Authorities in Spain report that Morales entered their country on November 9, 2018, by way of the Madrid-Barajas international airport.
“He was detected trying to rent a large house in the province of Alicante, with the more than possible intention to accommodate the rest of the members of his organization, who previously fled with him to Cuba,” said the Guardia Civil.
On November 19, Spanish authorities detected the arrival of three adults and minor linked to the Morales’ organization. They headed for the La Nucia (Alicante) neighborhood, staying at the house Morales had rented.
Spanish authorities added that in the raid on Friday, January 11, 2019, in Zaragoza, they arrested the Morales, his mother and girlfriend and confiscated computers, accounting records, cash, bank cards and other evidence related to the criminal activity. The other two, an adult and a minor, not believed to be part of the organization, were not detained.
On the same day, in Costa Rica, nine others linked to Morales and his organization, were arrested, that included his grandmother, uncle and two traffic police officers who are alleged to have pulled over the victim using a police stop as a ruse in the kidnapping.
On the night of September 24, 2018, 43-year-old Creighton was stopped by two traffic officials, pulled out of his vehicle and taken to house (grandma’s house) in Moravia. Creighton’s car was found abandoned in Heredia.
The OIJ scoured grandma’s house in search of clues to lead them to Creighton’s whereabouts. So far they have been quiet on and if they found anything.
Investigators in Costa Rica do not believe that Morales had worked for Creighton. His experience and knowledge in bitcoins may have been the attraction to kidnap Creighton.
Ironically, according to the OIJ, it was a bitcoin transaction, on a computer from the Moravia house that led them to Morales.