By Nataly Angulo.
Some 19 grenade attacks against businesses and private residences have taken place in Zulia state during 2020. Criminal gangs would be the author of those attacks.
Officials with the Scientist and Investigation Police and the National Guard anti-kidnapping and extortion division told El Pitazo that they investigate four criminal gangs for the attacks: El Sleiter, El Adriancito, the Yeico Massacre, and the Willy Melean.
The number of grenade attacks left seven people injured, and one worker dead. According to law enforcement agencies, the extorsion is the motive of this attack.
“These gangs have been acting with impunity for years in Zulia state. The state security forces have not been able to control the situation. Even high representatives of the local government or their relatives have been victims of crime,” stated the federation of private business owners, Fedecamara Zulia, in a statement.
The organization also denounced that heads of criminal organizations operate from abroad, causing material and psychological damage in the state. “Is unacceptable. The situation has already gone out of control.”
“We demand justice, and the end of the impunity that makes this evil grows; we recommend that businessmen do not give in to these criminals, do not pay extortion,” its read in the statement. However, this modus operandi has extended to Lara, Falcon, and other Western Venezuela states.
Maracaibo, Cabimas, and Lagunillas are the municipalities with the highest number of attacks. The last two attacks occurred on Friday 18, against a private medical center in Maracaibo and on Saturday 19, against a shop in Lagunillas.
The first attack took place in early February. Incidents have continued to September. Even if gangs are mostly trying to extort through terror, one man has died during the attacks. Police have arrested 18 individuals linked with the attacks and killed five alleged attackers who resisted arrest during investigations.