Loren Pogue was an American in his 50s who sold a lot of real estate in the Golfito area, a region full of lush tropical forests, animals and scandals. In the late 1980s, Loren would often buy many classified ads in The Tico Times, writing colorful descriptions of property for sale in paradise and giving his philosophy on life like this in bold capitalized letters: “FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS.”
I first broke the stories about how the owners of the ranch at the hot surfing spot of Pavones near Golfito were major U.S. drug traffickers named Danny Fowlie and his on Danny Jr. In the course of my reporting, I linked the Fowlies to Loren, who was none too happy about this. I was on solid ground since Danny Jr. had introduced me to Loren as his ranch manager.
One day, Loren appeared at The Tico Times’ parking lot and started shouting at me.
“I buy half the classified advertising in The Tico Times and I might pull it out,” he informed me.
This is a serious threat for any small newspaper. When I told Dery Dyer, our editor, she said, “Let’s pull it for him.” This was an act of courage for Dery and her father, don Richard. It told me that they would back up my work. This is what distinguishes a great publication from a mediocre one. A few months later, Loren was arrested in Florida on drug-trafficking charges.
While awaiting trial, he contacted acquaintances at the Costa Rica Surf Hotel in Golfito. He told them he was still selling land in the Golfito area and a couple of people would be coming to look at properties.
Pogue was sentenced to 27 years in a U.S. prison for his role in shipping drugs from the Cali Cartel through Costa Rica and into the U.S.
We reported it all.
(Peter J. Brennan worked at The TicoTimes from 1988 to 1996. He then spent a year as a Kiplinger Fellow at Ohio State University, where he wrote a thesis, “The Economic Impact of Illegal Immigrants in the U.S.” This thesis was printed by Art Laffer, the economist who invented the Laffer Curve. Peter worked for three years as a senior reporter at the Orange County Business Journal in California. He has spent the last five years as a technology reporter for Bloomberg News covering companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Qualcomm. He lives in Southern California with his wife Cynthia, a Costa Rican, and their daughter Nicole, who is now 11. He isn’t related to the Peter Brennan who was a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy.)