Anders Bodbacka, the senior technical designer for JC3, revealed that Rico was born in Mexico and moved to Medici, which is where his mother is from. According to the Di Ravello tapes, Rico left Medici with Tom Sheldon when Di Ravello ordered his soldiers to kill his parents to please The Agency.
According to the collectable Di Ravello audio diary tapes, Rico was a mediocre race car driver until he won a race as a result of the lead car's brakes failing (orchestrated by Di Ravello). Also, during his time in Medici, Rico had been very good friends with Mario ever since childhood, who would later lead the Rebellion, a revolutionary faction that was failing until Rico's arrival.
According to Rico's JC2 PDA profile, Rico was approached by the CIA during the Invasion of Panama in 1989, when Rico was 21 years old. Tom Sheldon then took Rico under his wing and became his commanding officer and friend, turning him from a rookie into the top agent he is today. According to info in JC3, Rico first met Sheldon on the boat during his escape from Medici.
Rico underwent CIA training and due to his expertise with weapons, vehicles, and other gadgets, he was soon accepted into The Agency.
This was a unit of the CIA which specialised in "regime change" operations, which involves overthrowing dictatorships that are being ruled unfairly or are no longer U.S.A. friendly.
During his time with The Agency, Rico trained under Sheldon, who taught Rico the skills and techniques he would need to carry out such dangerous operations, and became a good friend and ally. Rico ran a series of black ops to support guerrilla revolutionaries and overthrow evil dictators around the world.
Rico also met Maria Kane, another recruit within The Agency. Rico and Maria were intimate sometime before the events of the first game, something Sheldon is still oblivious to. Nonetheless, the three became close partners and often dispatched as a team: Sheldon being the commander, in charge of contact with Agency HQ and receiving intelligence, Maria deals with weapons, vehicle, and equipment procurement with Rico as the field operative, carrying out all the actual work.
In 2005, Rico made a name for himself when he was called to the tropical island of San Esperito, along with Sheldon and Maria, who were already there.
This would turn out to be his largest, most difficult and dangerous operation to date. His task was to infiltrate and assist two rebel factions on the island and cripple dictator Salvador Mendoza, who was believed to be in control of WMDs and finally put an end to his rule.
After landing on the island nation, he breaks a certain faction leader out of prison to aid him in his revolution: José Caramicas. Transporting him to safety earned him the friendship of his faction (the Guerrillas) and the affections of his grateful sister Esperanza Caramicas. He continued to help the faction and make his way across the nation, meeting new allies and making enemies.
With his allies, Rico proceeded and carried out numerous life-risking tasks that included the sabotaging of all Mendoza's businesses and the killing of his corrupt officials. Eventually, Sheldon, Rico and Maria tracked Mendoza down, who had retreated to his own personal island. Rico carried out a full-blown assault upon the island and fought his way through Mendoza's personal army. Mendoza fled in a jet with Rico in hot pursuit. After Rico jumped aboard Mendoza's flight, the president took a last ditch chance to escape and leapt from the plane.
Rico followed, skydiving above him. Catching up with him in free-fall, Rico placed a time-bomb on Mendoza's back, blowing the president into pieces and ultimately ending Mendoza's evil reign over San Esperito.
Tom Sheldon suspiciously goes missing with millions of dollars in Agency cash. He is suspected of going rogue. The Agency wants him found and killed. The events of JC2 took place in 2009.
Maria Kane personally tracks down Rico, believing him to be the only person capable of such a mission. She informs Rico about Sheldon's situation, who has disappeared in the island nation of Panau.
Rico reluctantly returns and accepts the mission when he hears about Sheldon. He and Kane are flown to Panau, in South-East Asia, whose new dictator has suddenly cut all ties to the U.S.A. Rico is informed that Sheldon may have gone rogue. Rico grudgingly accepts the fact that he may have to kill his friend and mentor, who taught him everything he knows.
Immediately thrown into combat, Rico assaults a military base and retrieves some memory cards with various pieces of intelligence about the operation in Panau on them. Later, Kane and Rico go to visit Karl Blaine, a Swedish Agency asset who has abandoned his mission in favour of gambling and drinking, who is believed to have information about Sheldon. But, after arriving at his house, they are greeted by his apparent girlfriend Jade Tan. Jade tells Rico that Blaine is holed up in the Panau Falls Casino and needs help. Rico and Jade ride to the casino, taking a shine to one another in the process. Rico then forcefully extracts Blaine from the casino and is repaid with a Black Market contact and the HQ locations of three Panau Factions.
Rico is introduced to the factions as a mercenary called "Scorpio" (once or twice called "Scorpion," possibly by mistake). The factions will dig up information regarding the whereabouts of Sheldon in return for Rico's services as a mercenary. Rico works for the "Reapers", led by Bolo Santosi, who is driven by her want for revolution; the "Roaches", led by Razak "The Razor" Razman, a very powerful drug distributor on Panau, though due to his wealth still remains a prominent public figure; and the "Ular Boys", led by Sri Irawan, who is driven simply by his lust for power and independence. All factions disapprove of dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay, who they feel is corrupting their nation.
Sure enough, he finds Sheldon and confronts him. Learning about Baby Panay, he realises that Sheldon had not gone rogue as it was believed. Instead, he was on Panay, who is believed to have ulterior motives for cutting ties with the US. Rico is given the job of eliminating Panau's corrupt leader to return the country to US friendly status. Sheldon tells Rico to keep working for the factions and causing chaos to flush Panay from his hiding spot and take him down, before departing to make amends with the Agency.
As Rico continues to work for the factions, he is abruptly informed that Karl Blaine is missing and isn't to be trusted (he had earlier installed a bug on Rico's PDA). Panay has also captured Jade, who is also revealed as a government agent and was caught snooping around. Rico races to rescue Jade before she is tortured by Panay, and he destroys the base where she is held.
From below a frozen lake, a nuclear submarine (U1) surfaces and a convoy makes their escape with Jade thrown into a truck. However, Rico foils the plan and hijacks the truck carrying Jade. Both are then rescued by Kane and Sheldon via helicopter.
The four of them take a break on Sheldon's barge boat where Jade expresses her gratitude towards Rico for saving her. She shares the intel she had gathered which reveals that there are three superpower representatives on Panau who also want to drive out Baby Panay. Knowing of the faction's want to remove Panay from the presidency, each of the representatives has allied themselves with a certain faction, providing them with financial backing.
Alexander Mirkov, a Russian secret service agent is aiding the Roaches; Zhang Sun, a Chinese leader who is backing the Reapers with his promise of revolution and a disgraced Japanese general named Masayo Washio, allied with the Ular Boys. Unfortunately, Jade was caught before finding out why the superpowers want Panay was gone, or what their interest in Panau itself is. They all wonder what a small nation like Panau has to offer. Sheldon tells Rico he must continue doing jobs for the factions and retain their trust, in order to discover the locations of these superpower representatives. As Rico prepares to leave, Jade asks what he intends to do, to which Rico replies what he does best, causes chaos. She tells him to take care of himself, but he insists there will be other time for that, jokingly suggesting Jade give him a few tips in the future.
Eventually, all three factions unknowingly put Rico in contact with the superpowers, enabling Rico and Sheldon to wipe them out.
Sheldon calls Rico to the Three Kings Hotel where Mirkov, Sun, and Washio are staying. Ironically, none of them knows the others are there, too. After confronting and defeating all three, Sheldon and Rico again wonder what Panau has that is able to attract the Chinese, Japanese, Russians.
After locating Panay, Sheldon sends Rico and a faction to kill him. Arriving at his lair (Wajah Ramah Fortress), Panay queries if Rico is also on the island to steal its huge oil supply. It suddenly becomes clear that all this was for oil, the superpowers were after Panauan Oil and wanted to get rid of Panay in order to get to it. The interaction is cut short by Blaine, who believes Panay killed Jade. He sets off a grenade, killing himself and seemingly also Panay. Rico makes a quick exit as the self-destruct sequence activates.
Getting to safety, Rico rages at Sheldon for having him risk his life so much just for oil. They are interrupted by Kane who informs them that rival powers have learned of Panay's death and their tankers are headed toward Panau to seize the oil, which will supposedly turn the nation into a field of death and destruction as they all clash over the world's largest oil supply, with little regard for the inhabitants of the island.
Rico is sent to the oil field in preparation for the confrontation of the superpowers, but on his way there, a nuclear submarine (U1) rises from the water. Rico checks it out, only to discover Panay, having survived the grenade explosion, is intent on keeping the oil supply for himself. After being overpowered, Panay flees to the front deck of the sub and reveals to Rico that the fight isn't over. Three Nuclear missiles are directed at the superpowers who have come to Panau to take the oil and a fourth is directed at the US. Panay launches them; however, his clothes are snagged on the American one and he is hauled off with it. Rico grapples onto the Russian one and quickly disarms the first three as they speed over the water. Then after a brief scuffle with Panay, Rico slams him into the exposed missile interior, from which he's unable to free himself, but instead of disarming the missile, he changes the target coordinates.
Rico parachutes to safety and lands on the Agency barge with Sheldon, Kane and Jade. The missile explodes behind him, having hit the prized oil field, much to Sheldon's and Kane's dismay. Rico explains his reasons for destroying oil worth so much, to spare the innocent people in Panau from having to live in fear and poverty due to superpowers clashing over the oil, as without it, all interest in Panau is lost.
As the group sail along the waters of Panau, the four raise a glass to good deeds, friends and a job well done.
Note that there's no way that any nuclear bomb could do any damage to an undersea oil field and that any radiation would be safely absorbed and carried off by the sea.
In 2015, several years after the events of Just Cause 2, Rico (now age 47) travels back home to the fictional nation of Medici, located in a fictional Mediterranean archipelago, to overthrow the dictatorship of General Di Ravello.
With the help of Tom Sheldon, Rico travels to Medici on a plane during Di Ravello week. Sheldon explains that "Di Ravello is sitting on a tonne of Bavarium, which makes him the Agency's best goddamn friend". Rico equips himself with weapons that he has smuggled with the help of Tom Sheldon and stunts to the roof of the plane which is now being attacked by SAMs. After defending the plane, the plane makes a vertical turn to dodge a machine gun from an attacking plane, which causes Rico to fall off. Rico parachutes down and meets up with Mario Frigo, now The Rebellion's incompetent leader. Rico ends up saving Mario from the D.R.M., then an urgent distress call from nearby rebels comes in and the two head for them as a backup. Managing to save the rebels in time, a fellow rebel says that Dimah Ali Umar al-Masri is now being attacked by the military. Rico mounts a helicopter and saves Dimah. After that, she explains that Bavarium is in the wrong hands and gifts Rico a new grappler, Wingsuit and GE-64 explosives. Rico then destroys an outpost and a bridge to stop Di Ravello's reinforcements from the previous mission.
Rico meets Mario at his Granmatre's house for dinner, after which he liberates the town of Manaea by the command of Alessia and proceeds to liberate the nearby power plant, Vis Electra. Rico discovers that Sheldon survived the crash while Di Ravello discovers that Rico has returned. Di Ravello orders his soldiers to raze the town of Costa Del Porto to bring out The Rebellion's leader Mario; Di Ravello plans were to kill Mario Frigo. Di Ravello fails and they fly away to safety. Rico subsequently saves the town and saves Mario.
Dimah requests Rico to retrieve a Bavarium scanner from Vigilator Nord. After retrieving it, he travels to Cima Leon: Silo to determine if Bavarium is being weaponized, after which the detector explodes due to the detection of an overabundance of Bavarium. During the mission, Rico discovers that Bavarium is heading to Tom Sheldon, who wants the detector for his own. Rico delivers the destroyed scanner to Sheldon, who in a fit of anger, smashes his glass of beer.
Rico and Mario then escort Zeno Antithikara, a scientist defecting from Di Ravello's Bavarium research campaign. Supposedly enraged by Zeno's escape, Di Ravello launches a military campaign to crush the rebellion in Insula Fonte. After assisting in several battles around Insula Fonte, the Medici Military launch a Bavarium nuke to distract Rico, who instead catches up to the missile and physically redirects the missile's course to Cima Leon Central Command instead of its intended target. Mario asks Rico to meet him urgently, but Rico is set up for a prank by a drunk Mario. He goes to Mario's actual location and the two deliver wine stolen from Di Ravello to some rebels where the group celebrate the victory.
Sometime later Sheldon informs Rico that some Medici Military ships are heading after Dimah and Mario. Rico is suspicious of Sheldon but goes to intercept the military ships and after defending Dimah and Mario, they meet two smugglers named Annika Svennson and Teo. After a firefight against Medici Military reinforcements, Mario becomes critically injured, in which Annika offers Rico aid to Mario if Rico does their bidding. It is later revealed that Sheldon and The Agency had ties to Di Ravello for 20 years for a promise that Di Ravello will have an alliance with the United States of America and the killing of Rico's parents was planned so Rico could be recruited for The Agency. Di Ravello is disappointed that Sheldon didn't keep his promise of an alliance with the US and starts blaming Sheldon for training Rico and his troubles he asks Sheldon to not come to his palace again. Tom is escorted out of the palace.
All during this time, the smugglers ask Rico to steal an Imperator Bavarium Tank, besiege a Bavarium refinery, and test a Bavarium EMP, but Rico becomes suspicious of a mole in The Rebellion. During these events, Mario recovers from his injuries, but the two hear that military forces know where they are and are going to wipe them out. The smugglers escape to "Avoid Suicide" but later return to help. After this, they destroy another power plant.
The rebels hear that Rosa Manuela is returning to Medici, but Rico is protective and doesn't want her returning to avoid an assassination attempt, so he protects her plane, and after landing Rosa recognises Zeno Antithikara as the mole and Zeno are imprisoned. Rosa asks Rico to destroy a train carrying Bavarium out of Medici and Rico destroys the train. Annika and Teo ask Rico to help free their friends and after doing this, Dimah, Rico, and Sheldon stop a transport plane carrying a Bavarium bomb. The Medici Military attacks The Rebellion as a ruse to free Zeno, but Rico confronts and destroys Zeno's helicopter, killing him.
The Rebellion engages in a final battle against the Medici Military to serve as a distraction while Dimah infiltrates Falco Maxime Central Command and attempts to destroy the base tower, and with it the last half century of Bavarium research. After assisting in The Rebellion's victories in battles across Medici, Rico travels to Falco Maxime where Dimah reveals there is no other way to destroy the tower than manually directing the Bavarium missiles from the base command tower. Rico attempts to convince her that there is another way, but Dimah surprises Rico by firing his grappling hook at a passing jet and proceeds to sacrifice herself to guide the missiles to the Centcom Tower.
Annika and Teo track down Di Ravello in a Bavarium powered helicopter which escaped from Falco Maxime moments before the explosion. Rico, along with Annika, Teo, and Mario travel to the last known location of the helicopter - a large volcano island off the coast of Medici. After a long battle with Rico, Di Ravello's helicopter crashes from too much damage, of which he crawls out of, determined to keep fighting. Rico confronts Di Ravello who monologues about how he failed Medici. Rico can either kill Di Ravello or let him commit suicide, ending his reign. Rico then travels to a nearby beach to enjoy a drink alone, in a scene similar to the title menu. Rico's fate is unknown after this, but he is definitely alive and well.