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Thursday, June 1, 2023

OIJ Agent Denies Selling Info to U.S.

A former Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) agent who was fired after allegations surfaced that he sold information about human trafficking organizations to a U.S. federal agent, says he will again appeal his case.

The OIJ agent, Guido Núñez, allegedly received an advance of $10,000 in a meeting with someone identified only as a U.S. federal agent in Puerto Rico in exchange for information Núñez gave to the U.S. Embassy’s Investigation Department Director Carlos Hernández, according to court documents.

Núñez allegedly gave Hernández a compact disc with photos and personal info about members of international human trafficking rings in the region. Though there is no criminal case against Núñez, he was fired after an internal investigation of his alleged dealings with the U.S. State Department.

It’s not clear whether Hernández and the U.S. federal agent knew that Núñez didn’t have authority as a Costa Rican state investigator to sell the information. A representative of the U.S. Embassy in San José said they wouldn’t comment on ongoing cases.

Núñez said he was acting not as an OIJ agent, but as a private detective for the company Private Technical Investigations, when the information was provided, according to court documents. Núñez also told the daily La Nación that he never received any money from the U.S. State Department.

E-mails that Núñez wrote to Hernández asking to him to quote a price for the information were used as evidence to back up the June decision by members of the Judicial Branch’s Superior Council to throw out Núñez’s first appeal.

Núñez, who may have received up to $300,000 for the information, was fired last year. OIJ spokesman Francisco Ruiz said Núñez had received awards for his investigations on human trafficking, and that when fired he was investigating the sale of visas to Chinese immigrants.

Normally, the Costa Rican government exchanges information with U.S. authorities through established administrative channels in the OIJ or Chief Prosecutor’s Office, not through agents.

Núñez told the daily La Nación that he would appeal the case in administrative court, not because he wants to be rehired, but because he wants to clear his name.



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