More than 100 persons face driver’s license scheme allegations

Judicial police detained more than 100 persons Wednesday morning on suspicion that they either gave or received bribes in exchange for a driver’s license.

A bulletin from the Judicial Investigating Organization said that some persons paid 250,000 colons or about $500 for licenses.

A spokesperson for the organization said that no expats have been arrested in connection with this case. She said only Costa Ricans have been detained so far.

A Poder Judicial bulletin said that 103 persons were picked up by agents and brought to San José for preliminary investigations.

Investigators have been looking into this case for seven months the report says. Transit investigators noticed irregularities in the number of driver’s licenses being given to people who claimed to have passed driving tests abroad and obtained a foreign license.

Investigators said persons were approached after they left the offices of the Consejo de Seguridad Vial where they failed tests to receive a Costa Rican driver’s license. Investigators suspect that one or two men approached such person and offered to provide a license anyway for 250,000 colons.

The report also says that these men used contacts within the agency to obtain documents saying that the clients had earned licenses in other countries.

Police arrested eight persons that they suspect orchestrated the scheme. Two of them are accused of being point men who made the offer or galvilanes.

Two of the suspects in custody are public employees who were involved with computer systems.

The Consejo Vial issued a press release clarifying that these two suspects are not employees of the council but rather employees of the Dirección General de Educación Vial, which is another part of the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

Four suspects are guards from a private contractor that provides security for the driver’s license offices.

Investigators specifically looked at the months of August and September. In many of these cases, they said they did not find any documents supporting the claims that those who were given these licenses had taken tests outside of the country or even left the country.

Police conducted numerous raids Wednesday morning in suburbs around San José and as far away as Cartago and Limón. The bulletin said that only 71 suspects have been arrested so far.

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