Mastermind, Two Others Extradited from Spain to Costa Rica in 5Dimes Tony Kidnapping Case
News outlets in Costa Rica are reporting that the country’s Ministry of Justice, the OIJ (Organismo de Investigación Judicial) has announced the successful extradition from Spain of three people, including the alleged mastermind, of the September 2018 kidnapping for ransom of William Sean Creighton Kopko, popularly known as 5Dimes Tony.
OIJ officials have identified the 12 people arrested and charged in the case to date only by their last names, and the alleged ringleader of the group, a 25-year-old named Morales Vega, was among the three people returned to Costa Rica to face charges in the ongoing investigation into 5Dimes Tony’s disappearance.
Also reported as having been extradited back to Costa Rica are Morales Vega’s 45-year-old mother, surnamed Vega Aguirre, and his 24-year-old wife, surnamed Solís Chaves. All three were arrested in January by Spanish authorities after fleeing there from Costa Rica in the wake of 5Dimes Tony’s disappearance.
“The Deputy Prosecutor’s Office against Drug Trafficking and Related Offenses reported that it has already taken the preliminary statement of the three accused; the hearing for the request for precautionary measures is scheduled to be held at 8:00 am on Friday, in the Criminal Court of the Second Judicial Circuit of San José,” according to the OIJ statement.
Nine others also face charges in what official remains a disappearance, as Costa Rican news reports that Creighton’s body had been found were later reversed. Many of the total of 12 people arrested in connection with the case were are Cuban nationals living and working in Costa Rica. The other nine suspects, with surnames and ages, are the following:
- Aguirre Leal, 71, Morales Vega’s grandmother
- Vega Aguirre, 46, an uncle to Morales Vega
- Sanabria Martinez, 35
- Martínez Chacón, 39
- Sánchez Gamboa, 45
- Ford Dowdon, 37
- Rivera Masís, 64
- Medrano Vargas, 34
- Jirón López, 36
Medrano Vargas and Jirón López are former transit police who created a false traffic stop of Creighton as he drove his Porsche Cayenne, pulling him over after he had dropped off a 5Dimes employee at his home. Four other men, presumably among those charged as accomplices, then conducted the actual kidnap. Creighton’s expensive car was crashed and abandoned at a separate location not close to where the kidnapping occurred.
Recent updates from La Nacion and other Costa Rican outlets have added more details to the unfortunate story. The OIJ also released a surveillance photo of a house in La Trinidad de Moravia (picture at right) where they believe Creighton was held following the kidnapping. However, the OIJ did not find any evidence of the sportsbook boss’s whereabouts.
More information has also emerged about the amount of ransom sought. Several different figures has been published in Costa Rican reports, beginning at US $500,000 and climbing from there. The latest La Nacion update states that the kidnapping group sought as much as $5 million and may actually have received $1 million, through what the group hoped was an anonymous, Bitcoin-based online transfer of funds.
However, the OIJ was able to identify Morales Vega, a computer engineer, as the probable mastermind after linking him to the online Bitcoin wallet into which the initial ransom payment flowed. The authorities not only secured the computer itself, but managed to recover one of Morales Vega’s fingerprints on the device as well.
5Dimes Tony, an American citizen but a long-time resident of Costa Rica, was just 33 at the time of his disappearance. The US-facing “grey market” sportsbook continues to operate despite the presumed loss of its long-time day-to-day leader.