Gangs belonging to Pablo Escobar’s former enforcer army, the Oficina de Envigado, want to topple or assassinate Medellin’s mayor, the official claimed Tuesday.
According to Mayor Federico Gutierrez, the city’s prosecution was able to intercept a conversation between leaders of the Oficina in which the unidentified alleged gang bosses vow to increase targeting the city’s residents in an attempt to decrease popular support for the authorities.
Medellin crime statistics
“The area’s capo told those in charge that they’re going to take this mayor any longer,” one of the alleged capos said in the distorted audio recordings.
Because authorities altered the voices of the alleged capos, it is impossible to verify the veracity of the recording.
At a press conference, the mayor implied that the authorities’ ongoing fight against organized crime is making the capos increasingly nervous.
“We are hitting them where it hurts,” said the mayor who earlier this month had to accept that his city saw an increase in homicides contrary to a national trend.
In response, the Oficina is seeking to increase its criminal activity, undermine the mayor’s popularity and so “topple” the city’s top official, the mayor claimed.
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The Oficina has been Medellin’s primary organized crime organization since the 1980s and consists of a number of street gangs called “combos” that have united forces to promote and protect their criminal interests.
In collusion with corrupt sectors within Medellin’s business and political elite, the group has been able to survive both the death of its founder in 1993 and the extradition of its second most infamous leader, AUC chief “Don Berna,” in 2008.
The syndicated gangs are currently aligned with paramilitary successor group AGC and control most the city’s extortion rackets and drug trafficking operations.
In spite of his disappointing results in curbing homicides, Gutierrez has claimed to be a target of the Oficina because of his tough anti-crime stance since taking office little over a year ago.