“Somewhere I had to get the money to pay”

Somewhere I had to get the money to pay
gold fishes are tempted by fraud fish with suitcase full of money

By paying bills or buying a television you can put your business, your property, yourself, or your family at risk.

They give you fast money, without guarantees or endorsements, with very small fees, but very high interest.

We are talking about “drip loans”, also known as “express loans” or the “borrower”.

This activity has existed for decades and is legal in many countries, but the police in Latin America are beginning to worry about the crimes associated with it.

Groups often made up of Colombians have been detected, and sometimes arrested and sentenced, in several countries for crimes that derive from this practice such as loan sharks, robbery, money laundering, and aggression.

If you do not meet your quotas, you may be in danger.

“Somewhere I had to get the money to pay”

After they give you the money you need, you usually have 20 or 30 days to repay the amount plus interest that ranges from 10% to 40%.

The collectors, in many Colombian cases, will attend punctually during that time so that you deliver the daily quota.

This is what happened to Carlos, a Chilean taxi driver who borrowed around US$150 and ended up paying five times that amount: US$750.

In different operations in several countries, evidence was seized and loan sharks lenders were arrested.

“It was great pressure. Somewhere I had to get the money to pay. They began to call a lot on the phone, they sent me messages giving me deadlines and (telling me) that if I did not pay they would take it out on me at my house,” said the repentant driver from Santiago in a report on Chile’s National Television a month ago.

Similar cases were reported in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“An Anchor of Misery”

Román Ortiz, the director of the Colombian consulting firm Decisive Point and an expert in Latin American security, explained to BBC Mundo that there are three reasons for the proliferation of “drop by drop” or “borrowers” in the region.

-Latin American states do not have adequate mechanisms to protect their citizens in impoverished and remote areas, where extortion groups can operate.

-The lack of functioning of the judicial system generates informality and illegality.

-The low bank penetration of people, who cannot access credit and are forced to move in the informal economy.

“The informal sector is approached by criminal structures with this type of loan sharks with very high-interest rates,” said the researcher.

Ortiz defines “borrowers” as “an anchor of misery in which people remain at the service of lenders or extortionists because they work to meet debts and interest.”

Thus, cases arose in which not only did the creditors pay much more than they received, but they also lost what they bought with the loan and more.

It is the story of Jairo, a resident of the city of Cali, Colombia, who borrowed US$275 to buy a television and had to pay US$9 for almost 40 days.

Experts define “borrowers” as “an anchor of misery.”

The newspaper El País de Cali reported that Jairo became ill and began to miss the daily payments.

Finally, the collectors visited his house in a group and took away the new television and the refrigerator.


A police report in Peru shows that the modality of “drop by drop” loans operated by illegal Colombian groups reached 97 cities in that country.

The data lit up the alert signal in the media and government authorities this week.

On Wednesday, the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior launched the #NoPrestesTuVida campaign, an initiative to prevent its citizens from this activity due to the dangers it entails.

The government entity explained to BBC Mundo that the campaign “is aimed at those people who, by accessing fast credit and avoiding the formal procedures of a money loan application, do not measure the danger of which they may be victims.”

This activity has existed for decades and is legal in many countries, but the police in Latin America are beginning to worry about the crimes associated with it.

“The sums of money increase so much that those who accessed these loans can no longer pay and fail to comply with the agreed installments, in response to which the ‘lenders’ attack them, extort them, and threaten them with death if they do not pay the amount borrowed and the total of interest”.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigation of Peru affirmed that the main victims of the “drop by drop” in Peru are merchants.

“Police investigations indicate that some of these false lenders are heavily armed and would have links with Colombian criminal gangs,” reported the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior.

This illicit activity has also mobilized the security forces of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia.

In August of this year, Carabineros and the Chilean police began to investigate the presence of moneylenders, especially in fairs and markets.

The Vice Minister of Security, Mahmud Aleu, declared at that time shark loans “are not a widespread practice, but as long as it is linked to crimes it will be a permanent concern in terms of public security.”

The largest number of “borrowers” in Chile were detected in fairs and markets in Antofagasta, Santiago, and Iquique.

It’s not just about Colombians

In countries such as Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina they affirm that large Colombian criminal gangs such as “Los Urabeños” or the “Envigado Collection Office” are behind the wave of “drop by drop” lenders in Latin America.

However, the director of Decisive Point, Román Ortiz, points out that these groups are engaged in larger illicit activities and that they handle much larger sums of money.

Ortiz specifies that those who carry out the “drop by drop” in Colombia are groups of extortionists and the same could happen in other countries, where there may be Colombians.

One of the reasons why Colombian criminal groups multiplied in other countries is the diaspora of large criminal gangs caused by the fight against organized crime in that country.

This illicit activity has also mobilized the security forces of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia.

The situation that occurs, for example, in Bolivia, where the fairs and markets of the city of Santa Cruz have the presence of foreign lenders who work in collaboration with Bolivians.

Arron Daugherty, a journalist for the Insight Crime website specializing in organized crime, points out that “some governments have occasionally used Colombians as scapegoats to explain crime or other social problems,” but acknowledges that in this case there is evidence of their participation in these crimes.

“Loan sharks can establish themselves in a new country by mixing with other criminal enterprises. Several of the nations in which Colombian loan sharks have been captured have also recently arrested people from that same country,” the journalist said.

However, not everyone sees this phenomenon as a bad thing.

An investigation by the Honduran newspaper La Tribuna indicates that vendors in markets in Tegucigalpa welcome “drop by drop” loans because they are used “to pay for electricity or when it is not enough to buy flour.”

Both in Bolivia and Honduras, police and local authorities warned of the presence of these activities.

In both countries, as in others in Latin America, people with economic needs do not know the risks they can run by borrowing a little money for television.