Robbery with scopolamine in Colombia: practices and risk areas – Crimes – Justice

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Two men were found at the site, one of whom was having a seizure. They were quickly taken to a health center, where they were treated and stabilized.

A few days before, the clamor of a family who requested information about a loved one who had disappeared after leaving a well-known restaurant in the Chapinero sector, in the north of Bogotá, circulated on social networks.

Those are just two of the cases that have been reported this year about uAn old form of robbery in which the life and integrity of the victim is put at serious risk and which has generated anxiety among the community of Bogotá and other cities in the country.

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According to figures from the National Institute of Health, between October 2021 and April of this year, “145 reported cases of scopolamine poisoning” have been reported.

The alert given by a security guard, who said he “couldn’t take it anymore” to see the suffering to which two men were subjected, allowed an operation to be deployed on the second floor of a bar located in the south of Bogotá, where two people were found who, due to the effect of the drug they had been given, they could not speak.

They were tied with cables and hidden under wooden boards and a mattress. The events that generated alarm and indignation in the country were recorded in February 2010 and led to the capture of 12 people linked to a criminal network whose members received sentences of up to 50 years in prison.

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More than a decade later, ‘las tomaseras’, as the gangs that turn to drugs to break the will and disappear the memories of their victims and then steal them are popularly known, are not a thing of the past and they are still active especially in the big cities of the country, even claiming the lives of some people who overstepped their hand in the supply of the substances used, or had an allergic reaction to it.

Criminal networks not only use scopolamine, but also resort to medications, some of them for controlled sale in pharmacies and for neurological or psychiatric use

The highest peak was recorded in the last week of November last year, with 13 cases, and the first week of December, with 12. This coincides with the payment of premiums and the general party atmosphere that exists in the country in the end of the year season. It is followed by the first week of February and the second week of March this year, with 10 cases each.

The criminal networks not only use scopolamine, which in the past was called burundanga, and which was the first alkaloid used by the criminal networks that now turn to medicines, some of them for controlled sale in pharmacies and for neurological or neurological use. psychiatric.

The INS pointed out that in the same period of time, 397 cases of use of this type of substance other than scopolamine have been reported. The second and third week of December last year, with 29 cases each, recorded the highest number of events, followed by February of this year, with 24.

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The situation has been getting worse to the point that even the United States Government, at the end of last year, warned its citizens to be careful when visiting the city of Cartagena, due to the risk of being victims of robberies with scopolamine.

“Intoxications of this type are intended to seek in the victim a state of maximum vulnerability, which allows the person’s will to be completely subdued and commit crimes that include different types of violence, mainly robberies and sexual crimes,” warned the INS, which indicated that there may be underreporting in the figures, since some victims do not go to the emergency room or go to private doctors, and others who lost their lives went directly to the knowledge of the Police, the CTI of the Prosecutor’s Office or the National Institute of Legal Medicine.

Sources from this last entity pointed out that the trace of scopolamine disappears quickly from the blood, so if the samples are delayed in arriving, it is difficult to detect it.

Police investigators told this newspaper that, in addition, there are victims who do not report to avoid making public how or where they were drugged and that there are even cases of some citizens who have falsely denounced that they were drugged. attacked to try to justify prolonged absences from their homes or offices.

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Panorama of intoxications in Bogotá 2021-2022

In Bogotá, 23 cases of scopolamine have been registered, compared to 12 in 2021, the year in which 58 were reported in total

For the same period last year, 12 cases of intoxication with this substance had been registered, that is, 11 less than this year. In all of 2021 there are reports in the city of 58 poisonings: 46 of the victims were men.

For his part, General Eliécer Camacho Jiménez, commander of the Metropolitan Police of Bogotá, said that he estimates that so far this year there are almost 300 cases reported due to intoxication with some substance. However, he insisted that there is no single record of these cases.

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Adriana Plata, national executive director of Asobares, pointed out that each party zone in Bogotá is different and that they have been working with businessmen and authorities to deal with this type of crime. Likewise, said Plata, the aim is to promote prevention and self-care, considering that it will not be possible to advance if the establishments have better security conditions, but citizens go out to wander down the street or take public transport on which they do not there is traceability.

He indicated that the establishments are already, with the Bogotá Security Secretariat, “doing a technical review of their surveillance cameras to integrate them into the C4 of the Police, reinforce the training of the logistics teams and, in the background, strengthen all the areas ”.

In Medellín, last year that crime skyrocketed, reaching 552 cases when in 2020, in the midst of isolation due to the pandemic, there were 314.

Last year that crime skyrocketed, reaching 552 cases when in 2020, in the midst of isolation due to the pandemic, there were 314. In 2019, 569 appear in official reports.

And in Cali, according to data from the city’s Metropolitan Police, so far in 2022 there have been 19 reports of robberies against people who have been intoxicated with scopolamine. Last year that figure was 35 cases and in 2020, 24.

In the capital of Valle del Cauca, a stable behavior of this crime is observed, since, according to the Police, there was an annual average, between 2016 and 2018, of 34 reports.

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Scopolamine Robberies

One of the main modalities of the criminals is to put the drug in the drinks of the victims whom they have approached in rumba sites.


Getty Images-iStockphoto

This is a modality that is also present in transport services. There, the victim is approached by means of a napkin or some element of service

He added that scopolamine is a colorless and tasteless substance, which can be administered orally or cutaneously. Most of the cases are associated with the participation of women, who start chatting with the victims and flirt with them to gain their trust and, in an oversight, put the drug. However, it is not the only modality, nor are bars the only places where there is risk.

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“This is a modality that is also present in transportation services. There, the victim is approached by means of a napkin or some element of service”, said Hernández.

Although myths have also been woven about the use of scopolamine about the supply of the drug through cigarettes or via skin contactrecognized toxicologists pointed out that the drugs used are substances that are characterized by being easily absorbed when administered orally and that if another mechanism were tried to drug the victim, higher doses and a longer time would be needed for them to take effect, which it would play against the intentions of criminals.

The drugs used are substances that are characterized by being easily absorbed when administered orally and that if another mechanism were tried, higher doses would be needed.

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Spokesmen for the Sijín de Bogotá indicated that citizens should be alert to what is happening around them, avoid going out alone to public places. “It is recommended not to carry visible and flashy items such as high-end watches, luxury accessories or large sums of money, because that makes them potential candidates for theft,” said one of the researchers.

In addition to moving in transport requested by platforms to have a trace of their movements, They recommended having bank insurance and protection mechanisms to block suspicious transactions. that are carried out within a certain time and denounce despite the personal complexity in which the facts occurred in order to advance in the prosecution of those responsible for these crimes.

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