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Cocaine Seizure Highlights Scale of Venezuela-Central America Trafficking

Authorities display a large cocaine seizure Authorities display a large cocaine seizure

Venezuela seized more than 2.6 tons of cocaine that authorities believe was destined for Central America, highlighting the scale of what is now one of the region's principal trafficking routes.

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Members of Venezuela's National Guard made the seizure in the port of the city of Maracaibo, reported El Espectador.

The drugs were specially wrapped to avoid detection, but officials discovered the shipment after receiving a tip-off, Venezuelan Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez told the media.

According to the minister, authorities believe the shipment was destined for Central America, specifically Honduras.

Two Venezuelans were arrested, one of whom was responsible for the shipment's customs paperwork, while the other was the operations manager of the company that was shipping the container, Global Service Maritime.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, transporting Colombian cocaine through Venezuela and then on to Central American destinations has become one of the most popular routes for drugs going to the United States.

Although in this case traffickers were attempting to move the shipment by sea, a more common method is by air, with flights heading either directly to Honduras, or, increasingly, stopping first in less closely monitored locations such as Nicaragua.

The cocaine trade in the border region is often facilitated by corrupt members of Venezuela's National Guard. Cases like this one, in which the National Guard acted on a tip-off, could suggest that the traffickers failed to cut the right members of the security forces in on the deal.

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