Gang activity has expanded in Rosario, including Los Monos, or The Monkeys, which employ youths to climb trees and act as lookouts, said Enrique Font, a criminologist at National University of Rosario.
In March, police uncovered a network of tunnels that appeared to connect to a house used by Claudio “The Bird” Cantero, the former head of Los Monos who was shot dead outside a discotheque in May 2013, according to prosecutors at the scene. The tunnels, which run under an empty lot, had ventilation shafts, humidity-proof brick walls and tiled floors.
“This shows the operational capacity and funds at their disposal,” Carolina Herrera, Rosario’s public prosecutor, said during an inspection as a digger unearthed further tunnels found by sniffer dogs.
Following 80 raids that led to 40 arrests and the seizure of drugs, weapons and money in April, about 2,000 federal officers remain in Rosario to bolster security, said Jorge Capitanich, who heads President Fernandez’s cabinet of ministers.
Homicides in greater Rosario jumped to 264 last year from 124 in 2010, according to official statistics compiled by the University of Rosario. Rosario’s homicide rate of 22 per 100,000 in 2012 was quadruple the rate in Buenos Aires at 5.5 per 100,000, according to Supreme Court data.
Jofre, the Rosario trucker, said that while security has improved at the spot where he was robbed, the thieves have simply moved to locations nearby.
“I haven’t been robbed again, thank god,” he said. “But I know a guy who did four trips to Rosario and was robbed four times. I don’t know if that’s bad luck or what to call it. He doesn’t go to Rosario anymore.”
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