Panic in Cartagena’s main tourist district amid shootout between police and narcos

Cartagena (Image credit: Wikipedia)

A gunfight caused panic in Cartagena’s most popular tourist neighborhood on Wednesday when in broad daylight assassins tried to kill a member of paramilitary successor group AGC, but got caught up in a firefight with police.

Three armed criminals, wearing prison guard uniforms, attempted to enter the building where Jhon Jairo Jimenez, a.k.a. “Pichi,” is held under house arrest in order to assassinate their presumably former companion.

Pichi was sentenced for drug trafficking after admitting to be one of the main drug exporters for the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), a.k.a. “Los Urabeños” in the Caribbean port city.

After his arrest in 2015, Pichi become a state witness and was placed under house arrest.

The private guard at the luxurious building where the drug trafficker lives alerted police of his suspicions when the prison guards allegedly paying an inspection visit proved different than the ones usually making that visit.

Police and the military came under fire when the assassins saw the officers, causing major panic among the residents and tourists dwelling in the Bocagrande neighborhood.

After the gunfight was over, police and army units recovered a rifle, three pistols with silencers and a revolver.

Two of the gunmen were injured and taken to the hospital, while a third suspect remains at large.

No civilians were injured, although one officer was slightly wounded in his ankle.

The police are offering a 10 million peso ($3,400) reward for information leading to the capture of the third suspect, whose picture they have released from an ID card they recovered after the shooting.

The mayor of Cartagena, Manuel Vicente Duque, released a statement that this was “an isolated incident in a vendetta between drug traffickers. We understand that the arrested belongs to [the AGC], but Cartagena can relax.”

The major implied that the assassination attempt could be retaliation for a number of police operations in recent weeks that resulted in the seizure of several tons of drugs from the country’s most powerful drug trafficking group.

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