American businessman William Sean Creighton Kopko, known as one of three most important sportsbook operators in Costa Rica, vanished on September 24, as he was apparently “leaving work.” His wife reported him missing the following day, prompting Costa Rican police to begin an investigation, which The Costa Rica Star reports as a possible kidnapping for ransom.
Kopko’s wife allegedly received a ransom phone call on the night of his disappearance, demanding $750,000 to be paid via bitcoin and sent to a Cuban bank. (Though some sources claim the actual sum was $1 million.) Kopko’s family paid the ransom, however he was never released and is still missing.
On the other hand, there was some good news. Twelve people suspected in the kidnapping of Kopko have been arrested. Nine of those were arrested in Costa Rica, while three were detained in Spain, according to Television New Zealand. The Spanish Civil Guard claims three suspects who were the purported ringleaders fled from Costa Rica to Cuba. A month later, the three left Cuba for Zaragoza city, Spain, where they were later arrested.
“We were able to determine that the suspects had maintained communication among themselves, that some of them had already left the country, and we managed to establish that they had distributed the different functions to carry out the crime,” stated the official statement provided by Costa Rica’s judiciary police.
Tourists were advised to be very cautious in certain areas of Costa Rica due to crime. The U.S. State Department warns in particular that gang activity poses a deadly threat in certain areas of the capital San Jose. “Pavas and Hospital neighborhoods in San Jose – Criminal assault and homicides have been reported in these areas. Gang activity, such as territorial disputes and narcotics trafficking, has been reported in Pavas in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy.”