Criminal Group Dismantled in Colombia for Counterfeiting U.S. Dollars

Published: 13 February 2024

USDollar BillsThe currently prosecuted individual led a transnational criminal group that produced and sold counterfeit dollars in the country's cities, Ecuador, and the United States. (Photo: PxHere, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

Colombia's Attorney General's Office reported the arrest of the leader of a transnational criminal group that had been counterfeiting dollar notes. The man is believed to have also coordinated the distribution of the fake money within Colombia, Ecuador, and the United States.

Mauricio Bravo Escalante, a.k.a. Caballo, was arrested in a joint operation in Cali, Valle del Cauca. According to the Attorney General's Office, he was also in charge of obtaining the necessary materials for the production of fake U.S. banknotes.

Authorities said he allegedly rented a property in a municipality in the north of the Cauca region, from where he operated the illegal workshop that manufactured the fake money.

The suspect was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, counterfeiting of national or foreign currency, and trafficking in counterfeit currency. He has denied the charges.

Five members suspected of belonging to Caballo’s criminal group were captured in October in a rural area of Cauca, specifically in an indigenous reservation area. Three of them were Ecuadorian nationals, and one had a red Interpol notice.

During that operation, authorities seized nearly 1.2 million counterfeit dollars and found 52 plates of different dollar denominations, three printing machines, and other items for the production of counterfeit money.

“With the dismantling of this transnational gang, it was possible to reduce the circulation of more than 1,200,000 counterfeit USD in the neighboring country. The National Army will continue to work jointly to weaken organizations dedicated to criminal acts in this area,” the Colombian National Army stated.