Boom in Colombian Extortion Rings Undermines Security Gains

February 4, 2015 5:04 AM

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Their names he never knew, but their faces he could never forget. At the end of every month, men using aliases such as "Smelly Feet" and "Grandpa" casually slipped into the backseat of his unlicensed taxi, a rusting 1985 Chevette, to demand their payment.

For years, drivers of pirate cabs in the sprawling slum of Usme, on the southern outskirts of Bogota, had no choice but to pay up. Either that or risk watching extorters set ablaze their cars or hurt their loved ones.

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