Colombia’s prosecution said Thursday it has arrested 281 alleged extortionists in the largest offensive of its kind in five years.
The massive “Operation Aurora” executed 251 raids across 26 provinces of Colombia, in which 38 criminal groups were targeted, according to the Prosecutor General’s website.
The office said the offensive prevented the payment of $584,000 in ransoms.
President Juan Manuel Santos praised state forces for the operation on Twitter, saying that “there will be no truce with criminal gangs.”
The joint operation was carried out by the Prosecutor General’s Office, the National Police, the Central Command of the Military and the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI).
Hundreds of smartphones, sim cards, and memory cards were seized. The prosecution said it will search them for evidence of extortion operations carried out by the targeted criminal groups.
According to authorities, more than 1,000 policemen and prosecution officials carried out the operation. A team of 80 investigators and 20 public prosecutors will be in charge of filing the criminal charges before courts.