Surveillance Footage Exposes Widespread Extortion in Medellín: The Grip of ‘Los Combos

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Extortion Caught on Camera in Medellín Neighborhood

A video captured by a security camera in the Alfonso López neighborhood, in Castilla, has revealed a disturbing fact: extortion is rampant. The footage shows a man, a distributor of products from a local store, being approached by two individuals upon his arrival. These individuals proceed to extort him for the distribution of the products.

Combos Collecting Vaccines in Medellín Neighborhoods

The two subjects, dressed in white, give the distributor detailed instructions before allowing him to leave with the products. It is no secret that in Medellín, vaccines are collected in all neighborhoods. These “combos” function as quasi-governments, imposing their own rules on the communities due to the lack of state presence.

Extortion Continues Unabated in Santo Domingo

In Santo Domingo, for instance, a community leader stated that true peace cannot be achieved as long as the “combos,” euphemistically referred to as “those around the corner,” continue to collect taxes, even on basic items like eggs sold in stores. Until recently, distributors were not even allowed to unload their products without permission from these criminal groups.

Criminal Governance in Moravian

In Moravian, the combos not only control land for illegal invasions but also impose fines of up to 500,000 pesos for physical altercations and even marital disputes. Researchers have labeled this phenomenon as a “criminal government,” where gangs mediate daily life.

Alarming Increase in Extortion Cases

This year, the Metropolitan Police has reported a significant surge in extortion cases. Between January and June, 494 cases have been reported, compared to 189 cases during the same period last year. While campaigns promoting complaints may have contributed to the increase, other factors, such as the need for combos to consolidate and strengthen their power, are also at play.

Triggered extortion in Medellín. Figures from the authorities:

494 cases

189 cases

– Hernán Muñoz Álvarez (@hperiodista) June 16, 2023

Changing Dynamics of Extortion in Medellín

In April, the Metropolitan Police had already highlighted the increase in extortion cases and explained the shift in dynamics. Previously, around 60% of reported extortion cases were digital complaints, but this year, approximately 65% are classic extortions carried out in person. Major Gabriel Alejandro Niño, commander of the Gaula unit of the Metropolitan Police, emphasized the severity of these real-life incidents.

A City Plagued by “Vaccines”

The video capturing the extortion of the store’s distributor is just one more example of a city plagued by “vaccines” – a term used to describe the control exerted by criminal groups. In Medellín, these groups dictate the rules while the authorities struggle to maintain control.

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