Venezuela: Gang Leader ‘Koki’ Killed in Police Operation

The heavy deployment in Aragua state came months after a similar one in the Cota 905 barrio in Caracas.


Caracas, February 10, 2022 ( – Venezuelan high-profile gang leader Carlos Revette aka “Koki” was reportedly shot dead in clashes with security forces on Tuesday.

According to Interior Minister Remigio Ceballos, Revette was one of five killed in the large-scale, multi-agency deployment in Tejerías, Santos Michelena municipality, Aragua state.

“We have liberated the territory in Tejerías and we will take this kind of operation into other states,” the former navy admiral said in a press conference on Wednesday. Ceballos added that the “Guaicaipuro II” operation had likewise led to 13 arrests. Authorities stated that servicemen had been injured in the confrontations but provided no further details.

Beginning on Sunday, agencies including the Bolivarian National Police and the forensic and criminalistic body CICPC moved in with tactical units, armored cars and helicopters against the armed group led by Carlos Gómez, alias “El Conejo” and Revette’s cousin.

The gang had taken control of the small town some 70 kilometers from Caracas that stands next to one of the country’s busiest highways. According to local reports, the criminal group engaged in drug trafficking, fuel smuggling, kidnapping and murder, while also extorting local businesses.

However, security forces advanced swiftly to control the high ground and force Gómez’s men to scatter. As police teams swept the area, they recovered weapons, ammunition, motorbikes, as well as radios and cell phones.

Information retrieved from a cell phone tipped authorities to Revette’s presence in Tejerías. He was finally tracked down and killed in reported clashes with security forces on Tuesday.

Alias “Koki,” alongside associates “Vampi” and “Garbis,” gained notoriety last year after their heavily armed group took control of large areas of Caracas sprawling from the hillside Cota 905 barrio. The densely populated areas became virtually impenetrable for law enforcement agencies as the gang expanded its activities to more and more territory.

A 2500-strong deployment codenamed “Gran Cacique Indio Guacaipuro Operation,” in reference to a local 16th-century anti-colonial resistance hero, finally managed to drive out the armed gang last July, but Revette and his associates escaped arrest.

The Nicolás Maduro government offered a US $500,000 reward for information on the fugitive. He was rumored to be in Colombia before being found alongside his cousin, who remains at large.

“We will continue searching for ‘El Conejo’ as well as other identified accomplices,” Ceballos stated in his presser, adding that Operation Guaicaipuro II would continue in the coming days while retrieved intelligence was being processed. The interior minister pointed the finger at the US and Colombian governments for supporting armed groups that sow instability in Venezuela.

On Tuesday, social media claims of an arrest warrant against Santos Michelena mayor Pedro Hernández for alleged ties to Gómez and Revette were quickly denied.

The large-scale security operation came on the heels of high-profile busts that saw deputies and mayors, most of them from the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) detained for drug trafficking and fuel smuggling.

Following the initial arrests in late January, Operation “Iron Fist” led to further detentions last week. Marco Tulio Álvarez Reyes, commander of the Anzoátegui military zone (ZODI), and four police commanders in Bolívar state were taken into custody over their alleged involvement in gasoline smuggling operations.