Costa Rican police have arrested four alleged members of a gang that trafficked organs to foreigners, the country’s attorney general says.
Carlos Jimenez said those detained on Thursday include three doctors, who are employed at the public Calderon Guardia Hospital in the capital, San Jose, as well as one Greek citizen, suspected of recruiting donors to sell their kidneys.
The arrested doctors have conducted the transplant surgeries “with full knowledge that the donors were receiving money in exchange for their organs,” said Jimenez.
The patients received a payment between USD 80,000 to 100,000 a transplant, according to officials.
This is the second arrest in the case since June when the leader of the trafficking gang, Francisco Mora Palma was detained together with a government official.
According to officials, Palma, who was also the chief of nephrology at the Calderon Guardia Hospital, was the main contact for foreigners seeking to buy kidneys, while the government official recruited possible donors.
At the time of June arrest Attorney General Jorge Chavarria said, “The patients who required the transplants were in Israeli territory, and some of the (trafficking) victims [had their kidney removed] here and others were transported to Israel. We have information that at least one person died after being operated on in Israel.”
The deceased donor was a woman who passed away while returning home to Costa Rica from transplanting an illegal organ in Israel.
In addition, two Israeli citizens paid in 2012 a Costa Rican and Nicaraguan man USD 6,000 for two illegally obtained kidneys, according to the International Organization for Migration of Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, another illegal organ trafficking ring was uncovered last year in Israel after several countries contacted authorities and provided them with the names of the suspects.
Furthermore, the Israeli regime admitted in 2009 that it had harvested organs from dead Palestinians without permission from their next of kin in the 1990s.
The confession came after Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet
revealed in a report that the Israeli authorities returned bodies of deceased Palestinians with organs missing.