Published Monday, June 22, 2020

One foreigner, three Costa Ricans
jailed for allegedly belonging to a
drug trafficking Mexican gang

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Nicaraguan woman and three Costa Ricans were arrested on suspicion of international drug trafficking, the Ministry of Security announced on Saturday.

According to information provided by the ministry on this case, the three detainees work for two Mexicans who are suspected of being the leaders of a gang of drug traffickers, who were transported in trucks carrying loads of scrap metal and cardboard.

The Mexican men were identified with surnames Villagomez- Pérez, 43, and Garay-Salgado, 31. They are outside the country, said the police.

The Nicaraguan woman was identified as Tathum-Garth, 60.

As part of the gang, three Costa Ricans,  a man surnamed Romero-Omeir, 40, and two women surnamed Sojo-Sánchez, 31, and Chaves-Artavia, 32, were arrested.

According to the police, the suspects were detained at their homes located in the districts of Guadalupe, Coronado, Moravia, Ciudad Colón and Llorente de Flores.

The Drug Control Police officers began the investigation in March 2019, detecting that allegedly the gang specialized in cocaine trafficking. The drug was hidden in trucks that made exports of scrap metal and cardboard by land to Guatemala.

According to the police, the method of operation began with Romero-Omeir who loaded the drugs and hid it in the trucks. He has a criminal record for attempted murder, assault, failure to comply with a protection measure and threats to authority.

After the trucks were allegedly loaded with the drug, Tathum-Garth was in charge of doing the exportation of the merchandise. She has no criminal record.

Sojo-Sánchez was Tathum's assistant and helped with the merchandise export procedures. She also has no criminal record.

The other alleged member of the gang, Chaves Artavia, paid the members of the gang. This with the authorization of one of the Mexican gang leaders, surnamed Villagomez. These two also had a dating relationship, police said.

Villagomez-Pérez had the role of manager in charge of the export company. According to the police, he "gave the indications on the actions to be carried out and supervised that the drugs leave the country."

Villagomez's assistant was another Mexican gang affiliate, Garay-Salgado. He was also responsible for loading the trucks, and helping the leader get the junk and hide the drug.

The two Mexican nationals did not remain in Costa Rica at the time of the raids and arrests, the police said.

In addition to the arrests, the police seized technological equipment, 43 doses of marijuana and tools, as part of the evidence in the case against the suspects.

According to the police, in 2019 there were two seizures of cocaine shipments that are allegedly linked to the gang that was detained in Costa Rica.

In March 2019, at the northern region border post of Peñas Blancas, a Guatemalan man surnamed Enriquez was arrested while driving a trailer with a Guatemalan license plate. The man went to El Salvador and transported cardboard for recycling. Inside the shipment was 100 packages with apparent cocaine. The shipment is linked to the export company of the detainees in Costa Rica.

A few days later, also in March 2019. Another shipment was seized in El Salvador. The drug had been hidden in a trailer that was destined for Guatemala. The police found 70 packages of cocaine hidden among the cardboard shipment. This shipment is also linked to the exporting company in Costa Rica, the police said.

The people detained in Costa Rica were taken to the cells of the Public Ministry where they were interrogated by the judicial agents. They must wait until a judge orders the pre-trial measures against them.

The agents along with other police organizations continue with the investigation to determine the whereabouts of the two Mexican nationals suspected of drug trafficking.

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