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 theJosé 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, includingSan 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

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

The Amazon is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, where wildlife trafficking threatens hundreds of thousands of species.

EX-FARC MAFIA / 13 OCT 2021

The Colombian guerrillas have won a battle against the Venezuelan military in the state of Apure. But they will never…

COLOMBIA / 22 DEC 2021

Welcome to InSight Crime’s Criminal  GameChangers 2021, where we highlight the most important trends in organized crime in the Americas over the course…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…