Investigators say cocaine ring was led by a Caja physician

When anti-drug agents detained a woman in Río Claro de Golfito June 17, they got the information they needed to roll up an extensive cocaine smuggling operation.

The investigation culminated Wednesday with the arrest of 23 persons all over western Costa Rica. All face allegations of international drug trafficking.

The leader of the organization was identified by the last names of Ramírez Araya, a physician with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. He works at a clinic in Corredores and at the hospital in Ciudad Neily.

The woman who was detained June 17 was identified by the last names of Martínez Martínez. She was reported to be the companion of the physician.
Judicial Investigating Organization agents conducted raids, searches and arrests in Puntarenas, Jicaral, Lepanto, Paquera, Cóbano and Paso Canoas. Jorge Rojas, director of the judicial police said that at one location agents were confronted by a suspect who threatened them with a firearm. But no shots were fired. Agents confiscated shotguns, pistols and even an AK-47, they said.

The Poder Judicial said that the suspects were being questioned in the late afternoon by prosecutors in Puntarenas.

Agents allege that the physician used his location near the border with Panamá to import cocaine from there for the local market.

Ms. Martínez was transporting eight kilos of cocaine when she was arrested, agents said. The Poder Judicial said that the organization imported and distributed 25 kilos a week.

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