The Scientific and Investigation Police and the Anti-Extortion and Kidnapping Command on Trujillo have been working. Three grenade attacks have taken place in April alone in Trujillo state, Venezuelan Andes. Several criminal gangs are being investigated for them.
At least once a week, criminals have deployed these devices in commercial locals located in the north of Valera municipality. None has exploded yet, so there have been no victims or infrastructure damages.
The most recent attack occurred this Friday, April 24, in a well-known hotel which was recently inaugurated.
Scientist police and the Intelligence Bolivarian Service went to the site and guarded the area until the arrival of the anti-explosives group, coming from the neighboring Lara state. It took the team of experts six hours to reach the site and remove the device, which was detonated in a secure area.
The first two cases of April took place on April 7, at a vehicle dealership, and on April 14, in a ravine behind a restaurant and nightclub in the city.
El Cristian gang
The National Guard’s in Trujillo has pointed to the members of the El Cristian gang, who extort money from merchants in Valera and surrounding municipalities, as responsible for these events. Their modus operands to break the victims is to throw explosives and shoot up the facades of the premises and/or family homes of business owners to intimidate them.
In the process of investigation, the security forces killed 31-year-old Yorman Mendoza on Wednesday, April 15, after an alleged confrontation in downtown Valera.
In that procedure, they arrested a citizen, identified as Eliecer Santiago, from whom they seized a grenade. They also arrested another alleged member of the group, named David Gamboa, on April 20.
The new normal
This kind of crime was not common in Valera. The first was recorded in 2015 when a grenade was thrown at the Scientific and Investigation Police headquarter. This type of event was more common in the Pan American Axis of Trujillo state, carried out by gangs dedicated to extorting farmers and ranchers.
According to regional media, by the end of 2019, the attacks increased, most of them unreported by the victims. In 2020 there were four cases, the first in January and the rest in April.