Three out of every 10 homicides since January of this year are linked to drug trafficking or organized crime, explained Verónica Pérez of the Office of Plans and Operations of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).
The last case that the authorities are investigating – and try to determine if it is related to drugs – is that of a Colombian who was gunned down the last week in Calle Blancos, attacked in his late model BMW.
According to the Cruz Roja (Red Cross), the man was shot in the head, chest and stomach. He was declared dead at the scene.
Perez said that so far this year there have been 260 homicides, 39 more than the same period last year. The average is1.7 murders per day or one every 14 hours.
“Of those homicides, many or a large majority are linked to drug trafficking or organized crime. They are people who had some link with those type of crimes,” she said.
The investigations of the OIJ determined that the deceased persons were related to the criminal structure, either in the function of a leader, vendor, distributor or manager of a bunker.
“We see that they have different functions within this structure and eventually rise up in rank,” she said.
The OIJ official explained that these deaths are mainly due to territorial disputes or settlement of scores.
“Every time authorities dismantle an organization, a void is created and that is exploited by other groups, it is at that moment that the executions take place,” said Perez.
The majority of the murders occurred in the provinces of San Jose, Limon, and Alajuela.
In a report in March, when there were only 104 homicides, Walter Espinoza, director of the OIJ, said that the judicial police body has a more than a 50% resolve rate and on average a murder case takes 162 days to bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.
Worrying authorities is the continued trend from last year when there were 620 murders, 15 of which where innocent people, people being at the wrong place and at the wrong time.