Businessman cleared over ‘Los Pertolos’ shooting

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A LOCAL factory owner charged with the murder of two men in 2009 has been cleared.

Jose Antonio G.G., the 44-year-old owner of Marmoles Ballester, was accused of the murder a man, aged 59, and his nephew, aged 19, who were members of feared Almeria gypsy clan ‘Los Pertolos’.

The shooting occurred in Olula del Rio on March 18, 2009, when the two men demanded money from the businessman. He had been threatened and extorted by them for some time. The court considered it proved that the he shot the two men in self-defence after they shot at him three times.

He had maintained since his arrest that on the day of the shooting they had come to his office armed with guns to demand €60,000, and that he was involved in a violent argument with the two men.

The first to shoot was the older of the two intruders, but once the businessman had shot him, the younger man approached his brother, who was also present at the time, and who had been threatened with a sharp object, and went to attack him, which caused the businessman to shoot again in order to save his brother.

Antonio claimed that before all of this happened he had told the two men that they could “talks things over” and find a solution. He had spent one year in prison and was facing a sentence of 24.

The businessman’s family and friends, who feared for their safety, were given police protection to deter possible reprisals by ‘Los Pertolos’.

‘Los Pertolos’ or ‘Petrolos’ derive their name from the fact that most members of the gang have the name ‘Petrolino’ (the first and middle names of both men who were shot was Petrolino). They became known to police in Albox as far back as 1925, and are known to have been engaged in a violent blood-feud with another criminal gypsy clan, Los Franceses.

Many local residents maintain that ‘Los Pertolos’ are behind a large proportion of the crime that occurs in the Almanzora district.

By Jennifer Leighfield

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