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Former Head of The Fuerza Publica Arrested For Alleged Drug Links

Jose Fabio Pizarro, former director of the Fuerza Publica, was detained Wednesday night on the Ruta 27, near Orotina

Who would know more about police strategy and tactics other than a former head of the nation’s police force? And that is possible why the reason why drug cartels wanted him. And so did the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), who had their sights on José Fabio Pizarro, also known as Toro” (Bull), for over a year.

Pizarro caught the attention of the OIJ in May 2016 when a minivan was intercepted on the ruta 27 with 430 kilos of cocaine. A Dominican national was arrested at the time.

“We began to develop a deep investigation, that led to the organization we took down yesterday,” said Michael Soto, interim director of the OIJ.

The seized truck and the illegal drugs in police custody. Photo OIJ

On Wednesday the arrest of the 51-year-old former police official was made this after OIJ agents working with the Servicio Especial de Respuesta Táctica (SERT) – a specialized tactical police unit – following a cattle truck on the Ruta 27 (San José–Caldera) decided to intercept in the area of Orotina.

Wednesday night, Soto confirmed the arrest of Pizarro and three other men, including a Mexican national, and that the truck was carrying 237 kilos of cocaine, hidden in a “double deck” of the truck.

The other two Costa Ricans arrested were identified by the last names Cantillo and Monterrey, the surname of the Mexican is Piñeda.

In a tight security caravan along the Ruta 27, the four men and the drugs (still in the truck) were moved to the downtown San Jose OIJ courthouse.

The drug haul. Photo MSP

Apparently, Pizarro was in charge of guarding the truck that was carrying a cargo of cocaine, traveling on the Ruta 27.

Authorities believe Pizarro provided transportation and security for the illegal drugs in Costa Rica, for the Mexican cartels.

The truck was traveling in Puntarenas – San José. The OIJ Press Department said that the amount of cocaine and the count are unknown tomorrow.

Pizarro was named director of the Fuerza Publica (National Police) on June 19, 2007 in the second administration of Oscar Arias (2006-2010). Pizarro joined the Fuerza Publica in 1993, rising up at the ranks to head of the Border Police a year earlier to becoming director..

His time as director was short.

In 2009, now a former director, Pizarro was linked to the helicopter crash in the Cerro de la Muerte. Authorities at the time were puzzled when Pizarro was the first to arrive at the scene before the rescue patrols. Later it was discovered that the helicopter was carrying 380 kilos of cocaine.

Authorities could not prove his participation.

At the time Pizarro explained that the pilot who died in the helicopter crash was “his great friend”.

However, the explanation didn’t sit well with authorities given the disappearance of the helicopter’s GPS, which would have allowed authorities to established its trajectory.

In 2013, Pizarro reappears in the media when he testified in the trial of Ann Patton accused of killing her husband, John Bender. Pizarro provided the Benders security services.  Authorities could not link Pizarro with the death Bender, who was shot in the head in 2010.

Also in 2013, the former director was back in the news when appearing in social networks leading an armed movement called the Frente Patriótico para la Defensa Nacional (Patriotic Front for National Defense) intent on defending Costa Rica during the Nicaragua crisis over the Isla Calero.