• Connect with us on Linkedin

Venezuela Narcotics Seizures Up in 2012

Cocaine seized in Caracas Cocaine seized in Caracas

Venezuela announced it seized over 45 tons of drugs in 2012, although the nation is still believed to offer a favorable environment for cocaine traffickers, thanks to complicity from corrupt elements in the security forces and government.

Linkedin
Google +

On December 20, Interior and Justice Minister, Nestor Luis Reverol, released figures showing that in 2012, Venezuelan authorities seized more than 45 tons of narcotics, reported El Nacional. This marks an increase of roughly 3 tons on the amount seized in 2011.

A little over 60 percent (27.17 tons) of the total seized was cocaine, with the remainder being comprised predominantly of marijuana (39.58 percent).

Reverol added that 20 major drug traffickers had been arrested in the country throughout the year, bringing the total number of such detentions to 95 since 2006.

Among the most prominent of these were Colombian drug lords Daniel “El Loco” Barrera who was arrested in September, and Rastrojos leader Diego Perez Henao, alias “Diego Rastrojo.” Both have since been extradited to Colombia.

Authorities also destroyed 36 clandestine landing strips for drug flights and seized 18 planes used for trafficking, reported AVN.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Venezuelan government will use these figures to show how it is making successful efforts in the war on drugs. The country was black-listed by the United States in September for failing “demonstrably ... to adhere to [its] obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements.”

A principal transit point for cocaine heading to Europe, Venezuela sees an estimated 200 tons of the drug pass through its territory annually according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sources. Thus, while 2012’s seizure figures are impressive, they are tiny fraction of what could be the actual amount transiting though this Andean nation.

Aiding drug traffickers in the country are corrupt elements of the military known as the "Cartel of the Suns," (Cartel de los Soles). The loosely structured group is thought to be comprised of high-level officials within the army, navy and air force. For example, a former leader of Mexico's Beltran Leyva Organization declared in September that he was able to ship cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico with the help of Venezuelan generals.

In addition, while the capture of several top-level traffickers is promising, it also points to Venezuela's role as a refuge for powerful criminals. The arrest of El Loco Barrera was certainly a coup for the government, and highlighted its willingness to cooperate in multilateral efforts to detain drug lords; however, questions were raised as to how El Loco was able to remain in the country for so long without detection.

Crime has risen markedly in Venezuela under the administration of Hugo Chavez. Though one explanation could have to do with the regional dynamics of the drug trade, there is also a fear that government corruption and complicity could enable gangs to continue to flourish in Venezuela, meaning it will remain a key trafficking route for the foreseeable future.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Groups Ask International Criminal Court to Investigate Mexico Military Atrocities

Groups Ask International Criminal Court to Investigate Mexico Military Atrocities

Non-governmental organizations have called on the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed by security forces in Mexico, underscoring the perceived impunity and brutality with which these officials have acted during Mexico's...

Read more

Co-Founder of Mexico's Zetas Leaves Prison

Co-Founder of Mexico's Zetas Leaves Prison

One of the founders of Mexico's Zetas cartel has been released from prison, raising the possibility that he could reassume control of the criminal organization, which has suffered a significant loss of leadership in recent...

Read more

Colombia's 'Green War' Reigniting with Death of Emerald Baron?

Colombia's 'Green War' Reigniting with Death of Emerald Baron?

The death of one of Colombia's most important emerald barons marks the end of an era of relative peace and could usher in another "Green War" as rival clans fight for control of the most...

Read more

Latest Criminal Profile