Law enforcement in Medellin last month arrested a group or more than a dozen people allegedly involved in detaining and robbing foreigners in Colombia, an ongoing criminal enterprise that led to the death of at least one person and the theft of nearly half a million dollars worth of cash and valuables.
Photo: Members of the group after being arrested in Medellín. (Credit: Office of the mayor of Medellín)
In all, after a five-month investigation, the national police arrested 10 adults and four minors implicated in the detention and killing of Swedish citizen Kile Alexander Macquenzie in February 2023.
The two alleged group leaders are known by the aliases Pulsar and Mateo.
According to Rosemberg Novoa, commander of the Metropolitan Police, the criminal group used a variety of means to prey on victims, including the use of social networks and dating apps to lure in victims on a date with a female member who would then be held and robbed or otherwise extorted of their possessions.
They reportedly often employed the so-called paseo millonario (Millionaire’s Ride), the practice of holding someone against their will in a vehicle then transporting them to an ATM where the are forced to take out as much cash as possible for the assailants, sometimes across various locations.
The group would end up spending the illicitly gained money on household appliances and jewelry, according to public complaints received by the National Police.
The racket operated primarily on the outskirts of Medellín, per the authorities, in Santa Elena and in the neighborhoods of Boyacá las Brisas, Playitas, Laureles, Manrique Oriental, Campo Valdés and in the municipality of Bello.
The arresting authorities said they found four firearms, six cars, three motorcycles, 23 cell phones, three laptops, jewelry, six foreign bank cards, and more than 20 million Colombian pesos ($4,800 USD).
Even beyond this one group, robberies of foreigners appear to be on the rise in Colombia’s second-largest city.
More than 300 cases were reported in the first nine months of the year, compared to just 69 during the same period of 2022, according to Personería de Medellín.