An additional 1,000 members of the National Police will be in Bogotá – as of December 1 – to boost security with the start of the busy holiday shopping season. The announcement by Mayor Claudia López came on the same day, a crime syndicate known by the name as “Los Motoladrones” was dismantled in joint operations between the police and Attorney General’s Office. The crime syndicate’s leader, Faver Preciado, age 39, and known by his alias “El Paisa,” is a fugitive of justice with a Blue Notice for his capture issued by Interpol given that he is believed to be in hiding in Ecuador.

So far this year, 264 organized gangs dedicated to various criminal activities, among them bicycle, motorbike and cellphone theft have been dismantled, leading to more than 1,200 arrests. Mayor López highlighted that among other crimes that have witnessed a reduction in recent months given extra security is homicide, street muggings, domestic violence, and burglaries to commercial establishments and homes. “We’ve had a noticeable improvement since August 12, when we started with police reinforcements in Bogotá,” said López.

The mayor called on the public to file complaints before the Attorney General’s Office and denounce crimes to police in order to investigate other criminal gangs operating in the city. “Justice must work so that the efforts of our investigators, our prosecutors, and members of the police are not in vain,” emphasized López. “When we unite our efforts, from the Mayoralty to Police, to citizens and judicial investigators, we are invincible. Criminals cannot confront our capacity,” she added.

While protecting citizens from street crime remains at the top of the district’s security agenda, on Tuesday, Colombia’s immigration authority Migración Colombia deported two Venezuelans charged with forced recruitment of minors to commit acts of vandalism during the social protests of the National Strike. The Venezuelans appear in the databases of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) as members of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence of Venezuela, with one of the deported, Marcos Dávila García, linked his country’s Anti-Extortion and Kidnapping Command. The Venezuelan nationals are barred from entering Colombia for 10-years.

The involvement of the two Venezuelan military agents in training youngsters to commit violent acts in Bogotá follows the arrest in the Colombian capital of an alleged member of Hezbollah who planned to assassinate a former Israeli intelligence officer. According to an investigation by El Tiempo newspaper, the former diplomat stationed with the Israeli Embassy in Bogotá was working for a company involved in surveillance cameras and technology.

In the news report, Mossad agents discovered that the businessman, along with a U.S delegation, were being spied on at a number of city locations. Regarding allegations that Hezbollah was plotting a terror attack against foreigners in the country, Defense Minister Diego Molano confirmed that intelligence officials back in September “had to organize an operation to capture and expel two criminals commissioned by Hezbollah with the intention of committing a criminal act in Colombia,” he said. Molano was sharply criticized for stating, during President Iván Duque’s official state visit to Israel, that “Iran and Hezbollah are enemies of Colombia.” President Duque and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez quickly reacted to Molano’s statement, forcing him to retract, given that the Islamic Republic of Iran has diplomatic representation in the country. “Colombia does not refer to any nation as ‘enemy’,” backtracked Molano, who joined President Duque in Israel, just days after the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

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