Police confirmed 16 policemen in northern Colombia have been detained for suspected ties to criminal groups, in an ongoing national operation to shut down organizations dedicated to theft and extortion, national media reported on Monday.
The Office of the Prosecutor-General has been cooperating with national police in an operation called Plan Transparency, dedicated to dismantling criminal organizations that work in collusion with Colombian security forces, reported Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper.
The Commissioner of Police, General Rodolfo Palomino, confirmed that under this plan they have detained 16 active-duty policemen in the north of Antioquia state, allegedly for the crimes of theft and extortion.
In the same operation, which included the investigative branch of the Prosecutor General’s office, 15 criminals belonging to groups dedicated to theft were arrested in the states of Antioquia, Córdoba, Sucre, Bolívar and Atlántico.
According to El Colombiano, the first operation yielded the capture of nine criminals in the states of Tolima and Cundinamarca, dedicated to the extortion of merchants in the towns of La Mesa and Guaduas.
The criminals were extorting between $250 and one $500 from locals every twenty days in so-called ‘protection fees.’
This second operation captured 16 policemen and 22 civilians belonging to a criminal band in the city of Monteria in northern Antioquia, who were allegedly responsible for robbing houses, banks, retail stores, and service stations.
The second criminal organization was allegedly was robbing houses, banks, retail stores, and service stations. In the last year they had stolen roughly $1.2 million in assets. According to Police Director Rodolfo Palomino, The culprits operated in the states of Antioquia, Cordoba, Sucre, Bolívar and Atlantico .
As for the involvement of police officers, Palomino stated that “researchers formally linked 16 uniformed police to the ongoing crimes for failing protect the public…. these men are accountable before the judicial authorities for their remiss acts.”
“The Transparency Plan of the Chief of Police will continue throughout the country,” Palomino concluded.
The members of the two criminal organizations will be tried on charges of conspiracy, murder, and illegal possession of weapons, among others.
- Capturan a 16 policías por corrupción (El Espectador)
- Capturan a 16 policías por vínculos con atracadores y paseos millonarios (Caracol Radio)
- Capturan a 16 policías por hurto en Antioquia y otros cuatro departamentos (El Colombiano)