The first time that ‘Los Melean’ was heard in Barranquilla was at the end of last January, after the murder of Venezuelan Hugo Enrique González Rico, alias el Kike, which occurred in Villa Campestre, Puerto Colombia.
The intelligence police determined that ‘el Kike’ was killed by a member of the Common Organized Crime Group (GDCO) led by Venezuelan boss Bernardino Melean Frontado, alias ‘Willy Melean’, who was neutralized early last Friday in Santander.
According to the authorities, González Rico was the “most important” record of another band of Venezuelans with interference in Santa Marta, La Guajira and Atlántico, whom ‘Los Melean’ wanted to put a stop to to prevent them from breaking into other areas of the region.
“It is ruled out that González Rico was part of ‘Los Melean’ and, on the contrary, members of that organization in Barranquilla would be the ones who would have ordered his murder when they noticed that ‘el Kike’ was forming a criminal structure,” a source told this half days after that crime.
In recent months, according to the authorities, the disputes and crimes of Venezuelans that have occurred on the coast “are related” to the clashes of two groups: those of ‘Yeico Massacre’ and those of ‘Willy Melean’.
However, the gangs also “scattered” members of their groups throughout the eastern part of the country to take up micro-trafficking routes.
“The entry of these groups into the country occurred through the irregular border crossings in La Guajira. These gangs had their radius of action in the state of Zulia, and due to the territorial vicinity, their arrival in the country took place in that area, ”said the researcher.
Among the armed actors of the transnational organized groups, according to the authorities, there are several ‘pranes’, who are nothing more than ex-convicts who, while in (Venezuelan) prisons, were in charge of “mobilizing” inside the penitentiaries micro-trafficking networks, arms trafficking and extortion.
“Their links with criminal gangs outside the prisons led them to consolidate networks of hired killers and control of illegal income from drug trafficking. This situation has been extended to Colombia and they have used the migratory flow to camouflage themselves and enter the country. These groups have even achieved alliances with powerful local gangs to reproduce the illegal dynamics to which they are accustomed, ”said the source.
Last July, the mayor of Santa Marta, Virna Johnson, after chairing an extraordinary security council, pointed out that the criminal gangs of ‘Yeico Masacre’ and ‘Willy Melean’ were the new groups that are fighting for control of micro-trafficking in the capital of Magdalena.
“We are on the trail of two criminal gangs made up of Venezuelans who have a presence in different cities of the country and are in Santa Marta. They are the gangs of ‘Yeico Massacre’ and that of ‘Willy Melean’ who want to have their actions in the city and we are not going to allow them to take it as a center of operations, “said the president.
The meeting took place after two homicides had been registered in early July in the Timayuí neighborhood, in eastern Santa Marta. The authorities attributed his crime to drug trafficking to one of the victims; while the murder of the other person was due to an internal dispute between the aforementioned gangs.
The authorities maintain that members of the ‘Los Melean’ gang also exercise control in territories such as Riohacha and Maicao and do not rule out that the criminal acts that are recorded there daily are related.
Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo pointed out that the operation in which alias Willy Melean was neutralized also achieved “the capture of five members of the GDCO.”
“They are all of Venezuelan nationality. Alias Willy Melean had three red Interpol circulars, for the crimes of aggravated theft of a motor vehicle, homicide and extortion “, revealed the head of Defense.
The Minister pointed out that this criminal structure had a criminal history of 20 years in the neighboring country, and that they were engaged in crimes such as extortion, kidnapping, homicide, and firearms trafficking, among others.
“His criminal actions in Colombia began in 2018 and focused on homicide, arms trafficking and conspiracy to commit a crime,” added Minister Trujillo.
The ‘Melean’ gang is known for recording videos of their bloody executions and distributing them through social networks, in addition to their extensive extortion records.
The members of the criminal structure have fallen in various operations in Venezuela or at the hands of their enemies; however, they continue with their claims to spread and implant their power.