Alumni in Focus

Costa Rica Success Story

José Pablo Cortés Salas

José Pablo Cortés Salas

Investigations Supervisor, Migration and Foreign Affairs Office. Training Received: Trafficking In Persons and Child Exploitation March 12-16, 2018

On July 30, 2019, an investigation lead by ILEA alumni José Pablo Cortés Salas ended. This international case was called “Adalid Operation” and it was carried out between Costa Rica and Panama, with the collaboration of HSI/ICE in Panama, Costa Rica and United States.

Alumni Rolando Fossatti (Trafficking in Persons Course, October 2013) and Moises Quintero (Trafficking in Persons and Child Exploitation Course, March 2018) from Panama and Prosecutor Angie Trejos Vargas (Trafficking in Persons Course, October 2013) from Costa Rica participated in the coordination of this case.

The criminal organization operated in Costa Rica and Panama smuggling migrants illicitly from Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Angola, Cameroon, Nepal, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, India and Cuba.  As well, the organization was involved in other smuggling related crimes.

During the investigation, 243 people were documented using the illicit smuggling network.  The day the operation was carried out in Costa Rica, 43 people were arrested and 36 search warrants were performed.  In Panama, 11 people were arrested and 15 search warrants were completed.  It was estimated that the organization earned over 2.9 million dollars.

Regarding illegal trafficking matters in both countries, this operation had the biggest impact at the bilateral level, as the countries were able to obtain prosecutorial evidence against 69 people that belonged to the international network.  Furthermore, it was possible to seize electronic devices, weapons and vehicles valued at $180,000.00 dollars, along with $20,000.00 dollars in cash.

José Pablo Cortés Salas stated, “This operation is very important for both countries and, thanks to the various investigation techniques and team work we were able to expose how these networks operate and their range. I thank ILEA for having contributed with my academic development and also for expanding our national and international network with alumni that were of precious help to this case.”