Murders of two Mexicans add dimension to drug fight here

Law enforcement officers appear to have been unsuccessful in keeping rivals in the international drug trade from killing themselves.

The latest evidence are the bodies of two Mexicans that were found Friday in an industrial area of Los Lagos, Heredia. The Judicial Investigating Organization confirmed Monday that the two men had been identified as German Lugo Auspivo and Federico Alonso Dávalos. Agents have little record of what the men were doing in the country.

The pair were wrapped individually in sheets and bound with industrial grade duct tape. Investigators attributed their deaths to the tape that was placed over their mouths and noses.

Investigators suspect the deaths happened Thursday or early Friday. The bodies were found Friday. At the same time they are investigating the murder of a man in Hatillo Thursday afternoon. He was a known drug dealer, identified as Steven Castro Ibarra. The location was his home in Colonia 15 de Setiembre. His body was wrapped in a blanket and bound with tape. He also suffered multiple bullet wounds.

Such treatment of bodies is considered a way drug gangs send messages. There are various drug cartels active in Costa Rica. The two men found in Los Largos were believed to have been associated with the Sinaloa cartel. The Los Zetas and the Michoacan cartels are known to be fighting in Costa Rica over drug routes. However, the Familia Michoacan traditionally beheads the persons they kill. The Sinaloa gang has been identified as owners of large cocaine shipments.

Law officers and politicians are working hard to keep the kind of warfare that has resulted in 40,000 Mexican deaths out of Costa Rica.

Drug-related killings can range from purely local affairs to those international in scope. Local San José and Pavas gangs are attempting to expand their territory into San Ramón and other areas. Castro, the man killed in Hatillo, was believed to be involved with a gang in San Ramón that was attempting to recruit drug vendors.

A 39-year-old Nicaraguan man died early Aug. 1 when an armed gang broke into his home in Bajo Tejares de San Ramón de Alajuela. Agents quickly detained three persons they said were involved in the killing. This crime has some link to the man in Hatillo.

Friday agents detained a fourth man, a 21 year old who lived in an area known as El Progreso. The gang not only was involved in drug dealing but also in robbing pedestrians and small stores in the area, said the Judicial Investigation Organization.

Even though the Spanish-language press is linking the Hatillo killing with the bodies of the two men found Friday, there might be no relationship. The two dead Mexican men may have been invovled in an operation that was on a more international level than the San Ramón drug gang.

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