Costa Rican doctor arrested on suspicion of organ trafficking
Still clad in his white lab coat, Dr. Francisco José Mora was marched out of his office at San José’s Calderón Guardia Hospital on Tuesday morning by three agents from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ). Mora, the head of the hospital’s nephrology department, is now in a jail cell suspected with running a transnational organ trafficking ring with links to Israel and Eastern Europe.
“Doctor Mora was the general coordinator of the entire international operation,” said Jorge Chavarría, Costa Rica’s chief prosecutor, in a press conference at the OIJ on Tuesday. “He did everything from interviewing donors to financing tests to determine compatibility.”
Police began investigating Mora in September after a nurse reported an unauthorized transfer of a medical team from Calderón Guardia to a private clinic. The OIJ also arrested a police officer with the last name Cordero who is suspected of finding and convincing donors to sell organs to Mora.
Prosecutors have identified at least three people who allegedly were paid approximately $10,000 each for their kidneys through Mora’s organization. Chavarría indicated that the organ recipients who have been identified were all Israeli.
The online Costa Rican daily crhoy.com reported that one donor, a Tica, died during a layover on her return from Israel after selling an organ.
According to Chavarría, Mora’s team performed transplants in Israel and Eastern Europe as well as at two private San José clinics, Bíblica and Católica. Since Mora’s arrest, police have searched both clinics as well as seven other sites including Mora’s home and a private clinic he operated a block away from the hospital.
Though no other organizations have been identified, Chavarría said there is evidence that organ trafficking is occurring in other countries in Central America.
The arrests come three weeks after an article published in the Mexican newspaper El Universal that described groups using Costa Rica’s medical tourism industry as a front for “transplant tourism.”
You may be interested
Costa Rica to vaccinate entire adult population against Covid-19Alejandro Zúñiga - January 25, 2021
Costa Rica plans to vaccinate its entire adult population against the coronavirus and has signed a budget to accomplish that…
KLM says it will continue long-haul flights, but rebook passengersAlejandro Zúñiga - January 25, 2021
After initially saying that it would suspend all long-haul flights, KLM announced it has established coronavirus protocols that will allow…
U.S. to reinstate Covid travel bans: White House officialThe Tico Times - January 25, 2021
President Joe Biden will re-impose a Covid-19 travel ban on most non-US citizens who have been in Britain, Brazil, Ireland and…