Sweeping raids net suspects in cartel-like organization

Judicial agents, prosecutors and judges raided 16 locations in the Central Valley and detained 11 persons Tuesday in what they said was a takedown of a gang involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and murder.

Among the victims of the gang, according to the Poder Judicial were four individuals who were gunned down from June through October.

The raids took place in Desamparados, Pavas, Cristo Rey, San Pedro de Montes de Oca and Santa Cruz de Guanacaste and involved 250 law officers, 16 prosecutors and 15 judges. The operation was under the direction of Walter Espinoza, the organized crime prosecutor.

The Poder Judicial quoted Espinoza as saying that the gang extorted money from other groups that sold drugs and threatened competitors. The gang also brought cash in from Guatemala and used it to make real estate purchases, said the report. The investigation has been going on for 18 months, the Poder Judicial said.

During the raids, police and agents confiscated 19 kilos of cocaine, $125,000 in cash and many weapons, said the Poder Judicial.

The principal suspect was identified as Marco Zamora Solórzano. Espinoza attributed four killings to the gang, known as Los Perros or dogs. June 20 a minor died in Pavas while a man was injured. Aug. 12 two Mexicans were killed in Heredia. Oct. 22 the death of a Colombian on Paso de la Vaca in San José, said the report.

Espinoza said that the gang was set up in the form of a Mexican cartel with respect for leadership and heavy use of violence.

Agents detained 10 persons during the morning raids. In the afternoon the Poder Judicial said that the sister of Zamora had been detained. She was described as the accountant for the group.

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