Costa Rican immigration officers arrested U.S. expat Doug Smith last Friday for failure to renew his tourist visa, Allen Ulloa, a public relations officer with the Immigration Administration, told The Tico Times.
According immigration officials, Smith was nabbed while on a shopping trip at Plaza Herradura near Jacó beach, on the central Pacific coast, and is now being held in San José while his deportation paperwork is processed.
Smith arrived in Costa Rica in 2005 and set up the WillSpy Private Investigation and Security Services company. Immigration Police sought his detention after a former client filed a legal complaint alleging he had taken money but simply drew out the case without solving it. The client had paid up to $400 a day, the Spanish-langauge daily Diario Extra reported.
According to immigration officials, Smith never renewed his 90-day tourist visa, an offense punishable by automatic deportation. Visa irregularities are an administrative offense, and Smith will not have a hearing nor face trial on the fraud accusations. Authorities are currently trying to obtain money from Smith to buy him a plane ticket back to the U.S.
According to his website and Facebook page, Smith lived in the southwestern San José suburb of Escazú with his wife and daughter, but, according to the Immigration Administration, Smith had no family in Costa Rica. He also claimed to be an ex-FBI agent with Navy SEAL training.
This story was updated at 1:58 p.m. Nov. 18 to include information from the Immigration Administration.