Sixteen Colombians and one Peruvian were arrested in a Tuesday raid on the Latin American black market for cell phones stolen in Colombia, various media reported.
The raid, called “Operation Mercury,” was carried out jointly by the Colombian judicial police DIJIN, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and the authorities in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
According to the Spanish press agency EFE, more than 2,000 phones were recovered in the operation.
Sixteen of the arrests, including that of the Peruvian citizen, were made in Bogota and the nearby town of Soacha. The final suspect, a Colombian, was detained in Brazil.
The detainees were allegedly the ringleaders of an operation in which at least 14,000 cell phones were stolen in Colombia and sold in Brazil, Ecuador and Brazil, announced Colombian Police Commander Oscar Naranjo.
The criminal band has reportedly been active since 2007.