The body of an Ecuadorean gang leader has disappeared from its resting place in a cemetery in Colombia, police say.
Junior Roldán’s remains were placed in a wall vault in the town of Envigado after no one had claimed his body.
The number two in Los Choneros, a prison gang which has been terrorising Ecuador, had been found shot dead in Colombia’s Antioquia province in May.
He had fled to Colombia after surviving two previous attempts on his life in his native Ecuador.
His body was found with bullet wounds to the head in a wooded area on 6 May.
Police suspect that he was killed by his bodyguard who wanted to steal the large sum of cash the gang leader had taken with him when he went into hiding, but no arrests have been made in connection with his murder.
They identified him by his tattoos and he was laid to rest in a wall vault at the central cemetery just south of Medellín on 18 May.
On Tuesday, workers found a gate to the cemetery open and when they searched the grounds they noticed that one of the vaults was empty.
Officials later confirmed that the vault in question had contained the body of Junior Roldán.
Police told local media that a number of men had broken into the cemetery overnight and taken the body.
So far it is not clear if the suspects had targeted the gang leader’s remains in particular and what their motive may have been.
Roldán had many enemies.
Before he fled Ecuador, he had been shot and injured by members of a rival gang calling itself Los Lobos (The Wolves).
He had previously survived an attack in which drones laden with explosives were set off above the prison wing in which he was detained at the time.
The gang he belonged to, Los Choneros, mainly engages in drug trafficking and extortion.
After many of its members were jailed, it became one of Ecuador’s most powerful prison gangs, controlling many aspects of life inside the country’s penitentiaries and also directing criminal operations from behind bars.
Los Choneros is thought to have been behind some of the most gruesome prison fights in Ecuador, in which dozens of inmates were killed and at times beheaded.
In recent years, the gang has forged links with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, an alliance which has further boosted its power.
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