HomeNewsMurders Soar as Venezuela Police Hunt for Wilexis Yet Again
NEWS

Murders Soar as Venezuela Police Hunt for Wilexis Yet Again

MEGABANDAS / 9 FEB 2022 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

A powerful Caracas gang has imposed a curfew after police raids left a dozen people dead – another example of how attempts to root out the gang have led to escalating violence and put residents in danger.

On February 4, gang boss Wilexis Alexander Acevedo Monasterios, alias "Wilexis," forced residents of the José Félix Ribas neighborhood in the Petare district east of Caracas to lock themselves in their homes, according to a report by El Estímulo. The 5 p.m. curfew ordered businesses to shut and public transportation to cease, according to audio messages sent by the gang to local residents on WhatsApp, and acquired by InSight Crime.

The curfew came after at least 11 people died in José Félix Ribas when police raided the neighborhood, according to El Pitazo. A community leader interviewed by InSight Crime on condition of anonymity said that the death toll may be higher, closer to 14.

SEE ALSO: Profile of Wilexis Alexander Acevedo Monasterios, alias "Wilexis"

Prior to the raids, a conflict had erupted between the Wilexis gang and its rival, the Chicorrios. During the raids, police killed gang members on both sides of the conflict, including two with the Chicorrios and the cousin of Wilexis, identified as alias "Chiripa." A 13-year-old boy, meanwhile, had his throat slit and tongue cut out by alleged members of the Chicorrios for supposedly having spoken to the police.

InSight Crime Analysis

The failed police raid and ensuing curfew suggest Wilexis is still in control of his stronghold. Wilexis is one of the most important drug traffickers in Caracas, and much of his power comes from a fierce following in and around Petare, where his gang offers gifts to families in need and delivers government-subsidized food boxes.

Police attempted to root out the gang in previous operations in 2020 and 2021. As in the latest raid, a number of people died in the incursions. And a former prosecutor accused authorities of summary killings.

Despite being under pressure from authorities, Wilexis sought to expand his control to other neighborhoods, including San José de Petare, La Dolorita and 5 de Julio, in October of last year, according to a Special Action Forces (Fuerza de Acciones Especiales - FAES) official who requested anonymity over security concerns when interviewed by InSight Crime in November.

SEE ALSO: El Koki or Wilexis – Who Runs Caracas' Most Powerful Drug Gang?

This expansion may have motivated the government's renewed effort to oust Wilexis, and the killing of Chiripa may be a blow to the gang. Residents of José Félix Ribas told InSight Crime that Chiripa was very close to Wilexis and acted as a senior lieutenant controlling parts of the neighborhood himself.

The loyalty and fear Wilexis commands in José Félix Ribas – a community that took to the streets to protest at his behest – will make it difficult to put an end to his influence, even as the gang wars with both its rivals and security forces.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 18 APR 2019

Criminal groups from Colombia have become the major source of employment in Venezuelan villages across the border as they recruit…

ECUADOR / 25 MAR 2011

According to a new cable released by WikiLeaks via El Espectador, the government of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe planned to…

VENEZUELA / 23 OCT 2015

More than 100 Venezuelan policemen have been killed in the metropolitan area of Caracas so far this year, leading to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…