12 arrested in kidnapping of US businessman in Costa Rica

Posted at 2:29 PM, Jan 13, 2019

Twelve people have been arrested in Costa Rica and Spain in connection with the suspected kidnapping of an American businessman, authorities said.

William Sean Creighton Kopko, the owner of 5Dimes, an online gambling platform, was kidnapped on September 24 in Costa Rica, according to a statement issued by the Spanish Civil Guard on Saturday.

Kopko's family agreed to pay the Bitcoin equivalent of $950,800 in ransom after his kidnappers made several calls threatening to kill him, according to the statement.

But after a payment was made, the kidnappers stopped communicating with Kopko's family and he is still missing.

Suspects traveled to Cuba

After the kidnapping members of the gang fled to Cuba, the Civil Guard statement said. On November 9, Costa Rica informed the Civil Guard that three suspects had left Cuba and entered Spain through the Madrid-Barajas airport. The suspects who traveled to Spain were arrested after they rented a house in the city of Zaragoza, according to the news release.

Video from Costa Rican investigators shows authorities raiding a house on Friday in Costa Rica. That raid lead to the arrest of nine others allegedly involved in the kidnapping scheme.

The US State Department has not posted any travel advisories regarding Costa Rica, but there is a warning on its website that crime "is increasing in Costa Rica and U.S. citizens are frequent victims."

American Carla Stefaniak was found dead after she went missing in Costa Rica in November. A security guard at the Airbnb where Stefaniak was staying was arrested and is a suspect in her killing.