Four detained in investigation of illegal organ transplants

A pizza parlor owner and three more physicians have been swept up in a probe of illegal organ transplants.

The Poder Judicial announced the arrests Thursday.

The physicians are two urologists and a vascular specialist. The urologists were identified by the last names of Mauro Stamati and Fonseca Guzmán. The vascular expert was identified with the last names of Monge Monge.

Dimosthenis Katsigiannis is the highly personable pizza restaurant owner who was detained. His restaurant is just across the street from Hospital Calderón Guardia, and it is frequented by many of the staffers from there. The Poder Judicial said that his role was finding persons willing to donate organs, mainly a kidney and directing them to the physicians.

Purchasing an organ is illegal in Costa Rica.

Last June 18 agents detained Francisco Mora Palma, chief of nephrology at Hospital Calderón Guardia. and said that he had done 550 organ transplants. One elderly U.S. resident has disclosed that he paid $150,000 for a kidney and that Mora did the operation at  Hospital Hotel La Católica in Guadalupe. The man could not get a transplant in the United States because of his age and physical condition. He later died.

The Poder Judicial said Thursday that those who received the organ transplants were mainly foreigners.

Mora and a person described as a recruiter continue in preventative detention.

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