Chilling wave of murders grips Desamparados

The canton of Desamparados, the most populous in the country, has become the murder capital.

The bulk of the killings appear to be related to a territorial drug war.

The most recent victim turned up Wednesday morning in a wooded area in Linda Vista de Patarrá. The unidentified man, who appears to be in his 20s, was wrapped in a blanket and partially cremated. The body bore a tattoo of a marijuana leaf and the figure of a scorpion. One hand bore the ironic tattoo BYE, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The man had two bullet wounds in the head.

There have been 38 murder victims found in the canton this year and 13 date from August. Desamparados is south and east of the San José central canton.

Without mentioning the wave of killings, the Fuerza Pública announced Wednesday that the number of officers on patrol would be boosted by 30 to 300.

Police also said that they detained 1,800 persons so far this year in Desamparados. Some 1,204 were for drug crimes. They also said they confiscated 70 firearms.

The murder wave began with a series of drive-by killings along Calle Fallas. Tuesday three bodies were found by a stream. There were signs of torture. Last week a killer presumably friendly with his taxi driver victim commissioned the man to take him to a remote spot and executed him with bullets to the head. This was a planned execution because neighbors said that the killer went from the taxi to a waiting vehicle.

Investigators say they have had problems because hardly any witnesses want to talk.

Judicial agents conducted two raids Wednesday and detained two persons who are believed to be suspects in at least one killing.  One raid was in San Juan de Dios de Desamparados and the other was in nearby Aserrí. One suspect was a minor.

Agents already reported that they had confiscated four firearms believed linked to various killings.

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