Police have arrested four women and one man from a gang known as “La Viuda Negra” – the Black Widow – who allegedly arranged marriages with desperate men before murdering them for life insurance payouts.
Colonel Jose Gerardo Acevedo of the Antioquia police told the media the gang preyed on poor men, promising to take them out of the country if they married one of the group’s women.
They then took out life insurance policies on the men worth between $50,000 and $445,000 before murdering their new spouses on their honeymoon.
The authorities highlighted a number of cases: 60-year-old Diego Hernandez Beltran was found drowned with his hands and feet bound after being hurled off the El Peñol-Guatape dam in 2008. His body was claimed by an 18-year-old girl, Emilsen Yulima Rojas Castaño, who had it cremated. A few months later Rojas claimed a life insurance payout on Hernadez worth $83,000.
In another case, the gang allegedly attempted to murder Jairo Ochoa Castrillon by throwing him off a boulder into the sea near Santa Marta. Ochoa was rescued only to be later shot dead in the municipality of Bello. He was insured for $50,000.
According to police, the gang operated out of the municipalities of Medellin, Marinilla and El Peñol.
They were identified as Jose Adrian Henao Giraldo, 37, Luz Elena Carvajal Cataño, 46, Suleyma Patricia Giraldo Zapata, 38, Emilse Yulima Rojas Castaño, 21, and Oliveryen Hincapie Lopez, 26.
They face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and aggravated fraud.