Colombian police have confirmed the capture of ‘El Gorila’, head of a Latin America cell phone smuggling cartel.
Mauricio Ricardo González Escobar was responsible for the smuggling of cell phones from Colombia to Ecuador, Peru and even Argentina. A total of 44 people have been captured, including three Peruvians.
‘El Gorila’ was head of the “Oficina de la 13” criminal organization, whose head quarters were based in Bogotá, Colombia, El Espectador reports.
“The cell phones stolen in Colombia were trafficked out of the country via the routes Bogotá-Quito-Lima and Medellín-Bogotá-Cali-Quito-Lima, international bus drivers were also complicit in the operations,” a statement from Colombia’s National Police force outlined.
President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted his support of the arrest, adding that Colombians “can now live in peace”.
Colombianos tenemos derecho a vivir tranquilos. Capturado ‘Gorila’, líder en robo de celulares en Sudamérica. @PoliciaColombia: sigamos así.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) February 22, 2016
Colombian authorities believe that ‘El Gorila’ had monthly earnings of some 500 million pesos, around $150,000, and was responsible for the theft of 4,000 smart phones from the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, Calí and Ibagué during the past two years, according to daily El Tiempo.
Petty crime including the theft of smart phones remains an issue in Bogotá, where some 7,000 stolen phones have been recovered by police to date this year.