Medellin gang leader Jeison Smith Velasquez, alias “El Rolo,” was recaptured after evading authorities from Colombia’s Antioquian city for almost eight months.
Smith Velasquez, who is believed to be a leader of the “La Sierra” gang and other criminal groups from the city’s Aburra Valley region, escaped jail with five other inmates on October 31, 2010. The gang leader was serving an 87 year sentence for the murder of two people.
According to RCN Radio, Medellin’s police had been working intensively in the Aburra Valley, located on the city’s eastern slopes, to recapture El Rolo and his companions.
El Rolo evaded authorities with the help of Aburra Valley community members. According to the commander of Medellin’s police, “El Rolo” had escaped four times from authorities, but “was protected by the community who received threats and suffered from his criminal activity.”
Medellin’s chief of police,Yesid Vasquez Prada, told Caracol Radio about a prior attempt to capture the criminal.
“El Rolo escaped from the hands of the police with handcuffs on. Unfortunately the people took them off and he escaped in the famous riots they create, if this hadn’t happened like this, the community of Sierra would be living a calm, different reality and without that trouble they sustain.”
Velasquez altered his appearance after he escaped from jail, which also made it difficult for police to capture him. Medellin’s chief of police said that it was necessary to reconfirm the criminals identity because he significantly changed his fingerprints.
Ultimately, the $11,200 reward for information leading to El Rolo’s capture led a member of the Aburra Valley commmunity to turn him in. Velasquez was reportedly caught while sleeping next to his wife and children.