HomeNewsBriefFour Arrested in Costa Rica For Organ Trafficking
BRIEF

Four Arrested in Costa Rica For Organ Trafficking

COSTA RICA / 11 OCT 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Authorities in Costa Rica have arrested three doctors and a restaurant owner allegedly involved in an organ trafficking ring in the latest blow to an international network uncovered earlier this year.

Officers from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) carried out the operation on October 10, arresting three physicians who worked at the Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia Hospital in the capital city San Jose, as well as the owner of a nearby pizzeria, which was apparently used to recruit donors, reported La Nacion.

According to newspaper report, the pizzeria owner, Dimosthenis Katsigiannis Karkasi, is Greek and the doctors are Costa Rican, although El Universal reported that the doctors are an Italian, a Colombian and a Costa Rican.

The ring specialized in kidney transplants and was allegedly involved in 20 illegal harvesting operations, in which donors received between $6,000 and $10,000 per kidney, which were likely sold for between $80,000 and $100,000 each, reported Tico Times

The pizzeria was allegedly used to identify potential donors and the owner acted as a middleman in negotiations and money exchanges between them and the doctors.

According to the reports, the arrests were part of a wider investigation into an organ trafficking ring first uncovered in June, in which a prominent doctor, Francisco Jose Mora, was arrested as its alleged ringleader. The network is thought to have links to both Israel and Eastern Europe.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Costa Rica is one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, this ring's existence demonstrates that the financial hardship that drives the illegal organ trade is still very much a problem in the country. Some experts have suggested the country's status as a medical tourism destination has fueled the practice. 

Although the links to Israel and Eastern Europe have not featured prominently in reports of these recent arrests, they have previously been exposed as key locations in the global illegal organ trade. This ring was originally exposed after a Costa Rican woman died on a flight back from Israel, where her kidney had been removed. So while the doctors detained may have undertaken operations solely within Costa Rica, the activities of the group are apparently far more extensive.

Governments in Central America have sought to combat the trade by increasing penalties for the crime, but the profits on offer, combined with the ready supply of donors, make it difficult to stem.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COSTA RICA / 10 APR 2012

Costa Rican authorities have seized 4 tons of cocaine this year at a single crossing point on the Nicaraguan border,…

BARRIO 18 / 26 APR 2019

The variety of extortionists in Central America speaks to the ease with which opportunists can set up their own schemes.

COCAINE / 3 JUL 2014

US authorities have seized more than 2 tons of cocaine from a Costa Rican vessel in the Pacific, highlighting the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…