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Costa Rica arrests gang for money laundering through Bitcoin

In this post:

  • 36 people connected to a criminal gang involved in money laundering via cryptocurrencies got arrested in Costa Rica.
  • The investigation took about two and a half years and led to the arrest of 36 out of the 50 suspects.
  • Buses, vehicles, and a weapon were confiscated in more than 40 raids that were carried out.

Costa Rica law enforcement agents have arrested at least 36 individuals connected to a criminal gang involved in money laundering through cryptocurrencies. The criminal organization involving government officials was busted on Tuesday following an investigation that started two and a half years ago.

Also read: Binance’s Gambaryan Denied Bail in Nigeria’s Money Laundering Trial

As reported by AM Costa Rica, the police carried out a judicial operation dubbed “Motherland” to arrest the criminals involved in bus line fraud, property scams, and money laundering activities, which earned them millions in dollars.

Law enforcement agents were involved in the criminal organization

In a report, the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) highlighted the gang included lawyers, judges, traffic police officers, and officials from the Ministry of Public Transport. Public Ministry officials were also part of the gang, together with two Spanish ringleaders named Leon and Gomez, aged 41 and 42, respectively.

OIJ director Randall Zúñiga described the gang as a “fairly consolidated criminal organization” that allegedly “was dedicated to robbing properties from people in the country and subsequently legitimizing them to third parties.”

According to The Tico Times, the investigation revealed the criminal gang laundered money from stolen properties by buying cryptocurrencies.

 “In a single transaction on one particular day, they moved $13 million in Bitcoin.”

Zúñiga.

The gang also had some cryptocurrency experts providing advisory services. The gang also ran a bus line and used traffic officers to take out competitors by issuing them fake fines.

In 2021, an enquiry started after five traffic officers involved in the criminal organization imposed fake fines on bus drivers and their companies in San Jose. They also issued “phony tickets to buses and public transport companies on the Caldera Beach route in Puntarenas Province.”

Costa Rica to carry out more raids

As investigations continued, the operation which included about 500 OIJ agents carried out about 47 raids across the country. More arrests are expected shortly as the authorities carry out more raids.

According to OIJ, the same gang is under investigation for “possible property fraud.” The gang assessed large pieces of land owned by people residing in foreign countries, and issued false transfer documents for that land.

Also read: Multi-billion dollar crypto money laundering scheme exposed

They would then sell that land enabling new owners to legitimize the investment. The report from the investigation shows at least 300 large properties were stolen in this manner. The gang also laundered money by purchasing luxury vehicles and jewelry among other assets. At least 38 vehicles, 13 buses, and an AR-15 weapon were confiscated during the raids.


Cryptopolitan reporting by Enacy Mapakame

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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