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Police Able to Track Bitcoin Transaction in Finding Suspects in 5Dimes Owner Kidnapping

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Jan/11/2019
  • 11 raids conducted early Friday morning

  • 5Dimes owner was reported kidnapped September 24

  • Police were able to gain access to Bitcoin wallet

  • Suspects traveled to El Salvador and Cuba before ending up in Spain


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The Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ carried out 11 raids Friday morning with arrests made of 10 individuals suspected in the kidnapping of a well-known sports book operator.

In Spain, the Civil Guard captured a computer engineer surnamed Morales Vega, his partner and his mother, surnamed Solís Chaves and Vega Aguirre, respectively.

Sean "Tony" Creighton, 42, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, was reportedly kidnapped September 24.  His vehicle was later found crashed. 

Kidnappers demanded close to $1 million to be sent in the form of Bitcoin and Creighton's wife sent the funds after her husband spoke over the phone, according to reports.  5Dimes was among the first online gambling sites to begin building a cache of the cryptocurrency.

"The payment in virtual money gave us access to a wallet, the IP (unique identifier of the equipment) was tracked and the location of this was specified (...).," Walter Espinoza Espinoza, director of the Judicial Police, said.

"The leaders of the group are in Zaragoza and will be brought to the country to be prosecuted for the fact. In Costa Rica it was determined that there are nine people close to the circle that planned the kidnapping, "Espinoza said.

During the proceedings of this Friday, firearms, cell phones, tablets, computers, vehicles, SIM cards, paper with annotations and shopping vouchers , as well as cash in dollars, were seized in Costa Rican soil.

On the other hand, in Zaragoza, at least 4,000 euros were seized in cash, cards used for virtual currency transactions, an accounting book and, likewise, electronic devices.

On the day of the events, the accused followed him during the night to Granadilla de Curridabat, where, with the presumed collaboration of the two Transit officials, they allegedly boarded the businessman when he was traveling in his car and, subsequently, he was taken to the site. of captivity.

"It is presumed that, after that, they made calls to people close to the victim and demanded payment of a high sum of money, in bitcoin- type virtual currency to free Creighton Kopko; in appearance, they managed to receive the equivalent of $ 950,800; However, until today the whereabouts of the American is unknown, "said the Public Ministry in a press release.

After what happened, the leader of the group is the first to leave the country. He fled by land to Panama, then he was in El Salvador and from there he moved to Cuba, where he met his partner and his mother.

They remained there for a little over a month and then traveled to Spain, first to the municipality of Alicante and then to Zaragoza.

Bitcoin Kidnappings

Due to its relatively anonymous nature, bitcoin has proved popular as a means of paying ransom besides cash, but this may soon be changing based on recent developments involving the Creighton kidnapping.

In September, South African tycoon Liyaqat Parker was kidnapped and later released following the payment of a Bitcoin ransom.

Months previous to this, a 13-year-old South African boy had been kidnapped and released in folowing the payment of a $120,000 Bitcoin payment.  Unlike Parker, the boy's parents had little wealth.

A Bitcoin Exchange executive had been kidnapped outside his Kiev, Ukraine office in 2017.  Exmo Operator Pavel Lerner was dragged at knife point to a black Mercedes and drove off the scene.   He would later be released unharmed after the payment of a $1 million Bitcoin ransom. 

In Costa Rica, sportsbook and online casino operators have hired extra security following the Creighton kidnapping.  The industry is now known as one of the largest dealing in the cryptocurrency following years of apprehension. 

Police in Costa Rica are working under the theory that Creighton could still be alive.

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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