San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Missing Persons

Canadian expat Ryan Piercy, missing for one month, appears safe at his Costa Rica home, police say

After being missing for one month and likely kidnapped in Costa Rica, Canadian expat Ryan Piercy arrived safely at his home in western San José in a taxi at midnight on Saturday, a spokesman for the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) told The Tico Times.

Piercy, 45, went missing on Tuesday, Jan. 20, and is believed to have been kidnapped. Police discovered his wife’s abandoned car with its doors open and engine running on the side of the road along Route 32, north of the capital.

OIJ Director of Criminal Investigations Maicol Soto told The Tico Times that Piercy, a well-known expat and board member of the Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR), is safe in his home with his family, and police are giving him time to recover before they interview him and issue a public statement.

Soto did not comment further, pending a debriefing with Piercy.

For the past month, police, members of Piercy’s family and colleagues at the ARCR remained silent on the events surrounding Piercy’s disappearance. Sources close to the investigation acknowledged early on that Piercy had been kidnapped, but neither the OIJ nor family members would confirm the information.

This story is developing. Follow www.ticotimes.net for updates.

Correction: A previous version of this story identified Ryan Piercy as the owner of ARCR. According to attorney Romulo Pacheco, Piercy is a board member of ARCR, but not the owner.

 

Contact David Boddiger at dboddiger@ticotimes.net54

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John

You have to compare apples to apples, and oranges to oranges.
When compared to other Central American countries, and most Latin American countries, Costa Rica crime and assaults are not high.
In fact, the murder rate is lower than any other Central American country, including Panama (which technically is often not considered a Central American country).
Of course you can always quote statistics like 400-odd murders a year to scare people, but this must be considered in context, and compared to similar countries.
Don’t think people even in developed countries don’t have their own version of ‘razor wire’ to live behind, except they call it ADT alarm system, or gated communities, or stronger-built houses that you can’t easily enter through the rooftop, etc.
Costa Rica has problems, and is not perfect, but it is ridiculous to keep trying to trash it when the facts don’t stand up to scrutiny if compared to other comparable places.
And I know this partly because I also live here.
And I also know that when you call the police here, they will come, and relatively quickly, and that is not always the case in some areas even in the U.S., for example.

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John

Ben, stop copying and pasting ridiculous information from wacky websites while pretending that you as an expert are the source.
Your previous post is full of this trick.
While you pretend to be an encylopedia about Costa Rica, crime, drugs, etc., much of what you say, word for word, is copied from right-wing wacko website http://www.americanthinker.com.
I invite all readers to check for themselves, by copying key passages of your so-called ‘opinion’ into Google, and then hitting the Search button.
For example:
Past your words “In addition to trafficking and drug production, the cartels are using Costa Rica for money-laundering, with upwards of $4.5 billion (or more than 20% of the national GDP) moving through the country via tax evasion, crime, and corruption each year. A chief prosecutor is quoted as saying, “[I]t’s now impossible to distinguish what part of the [Costa Rican] economy is illicit money and what part is legitimate. They’re so mixed up it’s impossible to distinguish.” Crack use is also on the rise, notably among the one fifth of the population living below the poverty line and generally out of sight of the superficial tourism face that Costa Rica tries to project to the rest of the world. Usage rates for this drug, which comes into the country via the South-to-North America cocaine pipeline, have tripled since the mid-1990s. On a per-capita basis, crack seizure quantities are much higher than in the United States.”
into Google and search, and you’ll see you stole this from http://www.americanthinker.com.
Other parts of your ‘comment’ come from other dubious sources.
Enough of this, Ben.
We’re onto you.
Too bad Tico Times moderators/editors don’t have time to ferret out such propaganda you try to pass of as your opinions of the day.
Trickery such as you use is not worth paying attention to.

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Ben

John your so right Costa Rica is safe and there is no Crime. The story above never happened and CR is the safest country in the world. Wake up John. Look around. John have you heard of free and open speech and Freedom to question. I guess your just a guy who watches CNN to get there news. John did you vote for Richard Nixon? Ya John there is no crime in CR and no Drug problem and No unemployment. Everything is great in your world JOHN.

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John

There is crime in every country; no place is perfect.
But when Costa Rica is compared to similarly developing countries, in almost any way, it fares reasonably well, and in some cases better than developed countries such as the U.S.
One of the most recent was the February 2015 Reporters Without Borders report on press freedom worldwide, which ranked Costa Rica 16th and the US 49th. (Finland was #1, Canada #8, Germany #12. Full country-by-country listing at http://index.rsf.org/#!/).
Crime and murder here is nothing compared to other Central American countries.
In so-called ‘developed’ countries like the US, white-collar crime can almost desecrate the whole economy (and that of the world) while we stupidly look at a few street stickups and think that is the problem.
This is the reality of the real world, not the Tico-bashing that posters copy from wacko websites.

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Ben

John last year there was 425 murders and over 13000 assaults in CR thats a fact. Today Costa Rica just reported this. John do you not see the Razor Wire and walls built around homes in CR? Costa Rican live in fear everday they hide behind bars and walls and razor wire. The police in CR are corupt last year 39 police officers lost there job in CR over coruption. Costa Rica still has a spy agency called DIS and does spy on its own citizens. John you make CR look great and everything is wonderful the Unemplyment rate is 10% and growing fast as US corp leave Costa Rica. John compared to Mexico anything is better even Yemen or Iraq. Most of the problem in world are created by US goverment like minded people like yourself. But John you keep saying everything is great and stay begind your Razor wires and walls and bars and alarms and hope the police come to your aid if something happens. Us that live in CR know the facts and the crap you are saying are not the facts there just goverment lies.

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John

And how about if expats steal from or injure Ticos (or each other) they get twice the time in jail.
And I don’t believe for a minute that you “spoke with foreign affairs Canada this morning and they are looking into calling Costa Rica a high crime area of Central America and could advise Canadians to not travel to CR.”
It takes more than a so-far-unexplained kidnapping and crime rates actually better than most countries for these things to happen
This is just another wild statement you pulled from you know where.
Despite its flaws, Costa Rica is much safer (and friendlier to expats) than Mexico or pretty well any other LA country.
It’s important to keep a grip on reality when bad things happen, and not use them as an excuse to promote our daffy views.

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Ben

Okay John as of this morning the Canadian goverment said they are concerned about CR crime issue. I did speak with the Canadian goverment and they are conserned. John you should know that CR has lots of problems with Crime wake up and smell the coffee. Every 38 min in CR there is an assault this was said today in Costa Rica Today. I guess John your living in a bubble and start looking around you might start seeing the truth. John if you keep on saying CR is safe that would be a big lie. Costa Rica had 415 murders last year and thats the ones the Costa Rica goverment found. There is 167 people missing in CR. Even back in 2011, journalists were warning of the cartel influence creeping into Costa Rica. Since 2004, homicide rates – while still well below those of its neighbors such as Honduras and El Salvador – increased more than sixfold, and crime rates have doubled since the late 1990s. The nation was becoming popular (and still is) as a “warehouse” for cocaine being shipped from Colombia up to the USA.

Some sharp lessons in realpolitik are coming to light for Costa Rica. Back in 1948, the country abolished its military and began grossly underfunding its police services in order to allow greater spending on health, education, other social benefits, and environmental protection. Now it has few institutional resources equipped to handle the growing cartel threat. The police and judicial systems are also exhibiting evidence of corruption. Polling data indicates that “nearly half of Costa Ricans consider citizen security the worst problem facing the country.”

By mid-2013, a national newspaper was already reporting the clear relationship between drugs and increasing rates of homicide (which is about double that of the USA) and other violent crimes. A 2013 U.S. State Department report also noted the security force deficit for combating the drug cartels in Costa Rica. Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel has a well-established presence in the country, as do the Gulf Cartel, Familia Michoacana, and the Zetas. Costa Rica’s international tourism industry also feeds the burgeoning local drug industry due to North American- and European-sourced “drug tourism.” The United States is now “patrolling Costa Rica’s skies and waters while also providing millions of dollars in training and equipment” in an attempt to address the growing cartel influence. The prison population increased by more than 50 percent since 2006, and Costa Rica’s incarceration rate is behind only El Salvador and Panama in Central America.

The international drug cartels are using Costa Rica’s national parks as their refuges, both for smuggling cocaine up from South America and for growing marijuana. Seizure rates for cocaine in the parks are exploding. Often, the cartels sail the drugs directly into Costa Rica’s ocean-bordering parks, and then move the drugs north into the USA via the Pan-American Highway. Residents fear that the threat from the cartels is now much greater than was the threat from regional conflicts during the Cold War. Declining fish catches and new environmental protections to protect fish stocks are also pushing many fishermen toward the drug industry. Senior U.S. narcotics agents acknowledge that Mexican cartels have “command and control” operations inside the country.

In addition to trafficking and drug production, the cartels are using Costa Rica for money-laundering, with upwards of $4.5 billion (or more than 20% of the national GDP) moving through the country via tax evasion, crime, and corruption each year. A chief prosecutor is quoted as saying, “[I]t’s now impossible to distinguish what part of the [Costa Rican] economy is illicit money and what part is legitimate. They’re so mixed up it’s impossible to distinguish.” Crack use is also on the rise, notably among the one fifth of the population living below the poverty line and generally out of sight of the superficial tourism face that Costa Rica tries to project to the rest of the world. Usage rates for this drug, which comes into the country via the South-to-North America cocaine pipeline, have tripled since the mid-1990s. On a per-capita basis, crack seizure quantities are much higher than in the United States.

Internal security spending in Costa Rica is increasing in response to the cartels, up more than 120 percent since 2006. Yet the country is still characterized by insiders as “a meeting point for the two most important mafias on the continent: the Colombians and the Mexicans.” This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Back in 1985, the founder of the Guadalajara Cartel, Rafael Caro Quintero, was captured by the DEA at his mansion near Costa Rica’s international airport. The presence of drug cartels in Costa Rica is a problem more than three decades old, and yet it receives relatively scant and sporadic media attention. With no air force, airborne territorial violations by the cartels are commonplace. Airplanes can transit Costa Rican airspace with effective impunity. The Costa Rican Drug Institute has quintupled the number of drug trafficking cases over the past decade. Nearly 90 Mexican nationals are in prison in Costa Rica.

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Ben

If the Costa Rica goverment cannot protect the Expat community or the visitors to Costa Rica then we all should leave Costa Rica. Costa Rica is starting to turn into Mexico with kidnappping being the norm in CR. If i was Ryan Peircy i would close my business its going to be hard for him to sell CR as a safe country as he was kidnapped by mafia or cartel or who ever. I already spoke with foreign affairs Canada this morning and they are looking into calling Costa Rica a high crime area of Central America and could advise Canadians to not travel to CR. Costa Rica is not a place to invest or retire. If you have corupt goverment and lazy goverment and high unemployment in CR you get lots of Crime that a fact. The Costa Rica goverment is so corupt.

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Ben

Great News lets get the Scum bags that kidnapped him. Lets protect tourism in Costa Rica if you hurt or steal from and expat you should get twice the time in jail.

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Jair

Maybe the scum bags are expats too, could be?

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Ben

Every 38 minutes a person is a victim of assault in Costa Rica, according to the figures by the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) for last year.

The OIJ data for 2014 reveals a total of 13.797 reported assaults, although 122 fewer than in 2013, the reality is that every 38 minutes a person is assaulted in public places.

Of three principal cities in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), San José, with 3.220 (23.3%) leads the list of reported assaults, followed by Alajuela with 824 (6%), and Heredia with 778 (5.6%).

The areas of Hatillo, Los Guido in Desamparados and downtown San José in the parks known as Salud and Garantias Socials (behind the Caja) and the motel area of San Francisco de Dos Rios, are sites with the highest predilection by assailants.

according to Emilio Segura, head of the Theft and Robbery section of the OIJ, there is a defined hour and day when most assaults occur.

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Jair

Try to live in another part in central america, and let me know please, what is more safe than Costa Rica!

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