COLOMBIA NEWS – Following months of investigation, the National Police’s Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Extortion Group (GAULA) has dismantled an extortion gang that operated from several prisons across the country, local media reported on August 5.
The “Los Presidios” gang, which included 16 women and five men, operated in the cities of Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Cúcuta, Bucaramanga, Bogotá, Ibagué, Medellín and Sincelejo, according to El Tiempo newspaper.
The criminal group targeted mostly small businesses, transport companies, loan companies and lawyers.
Police have reported 48 cases of extortion committed by the gang, but they believe the number of victims may reach 500 people.
After collecting information on the victims, the extortionists made phone calls from inside the prisons pretending to be members of guerrilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and demanding money or military materiel.
Sources: El Tiempo; El Universal