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4 detained in Costa Rican kidney-trafficking ring

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) -- Three Costa Rican doctors and a Greek citizen have been detained under suspicion they are part of ring that trafficked kidneys to foreigners, authorities said Thursday.

Attorney General Carlos Jimenez said the doctors worked at the public Calderon Guardia Hospital in the capital, San Jose, but performed transplants of illegally purchased kidneys at two private clinics in other parts of the country.

The Greek citizen has a small pizzeria across the street from the hospital where he recruited donors to sell their kidneys, Jimenez said.

The doctors conducted kidney transplant surgeries "with full knowledge that the donors were receiving money in exchange for their organs," Jimenez said.

Foreigners were charged between $80,000 and $100,000 a transplant, officials said.

In June, police arrested another doctor and a government official in the same case. That doctor was the chief of nephrology at Calderon Guardia Hospital and authorities said he was the main contact for foreigners looking for kidney transplants. The government official also recruited possible donors, officials said.

After the arrests, police raided the homes and offices of those detained, three medical laboratories and the clinics where the surgeries allegedly took place.

Costa Rican police began an investigation in June after a Mexican newspaper published a story about organs being sold on the Internet in this Central American country.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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