Seized Money Points to Illicit Venezuela-Mexico Connection

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A look into Mexican government records by Milenio reveals that in 2010, authorities in Mexico City found more than $3.3 million hidden in a shipment headed for Caracas, Venezuela

Milenio reports that Federal Security Secretariat (SSPF) records, which were released this year, show that the shipment originally came from the central Mexican city of Leon, Guanajuato. Neither the identity of the sender nor that of its intended recipient were released in the report, although it notes that the money had been hidden in three mattresses and two televisions, and sealed in packages containing sulphur dust in order to mask the scent from dogs. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact that the money was sent from Mexico (the main funnel for illegal drugs heading north to the United States) to Venezuela (a major international drug trafficking hub) could point to a link with the drug trade.

As InSight Crime has pointed out, direct connections to Mexican cartels are becoming more common in Venezuela’s criminal underworld, as drug trafficking organizations in the country work to cut out their Colombian counterparts. Though they have traditionally served as middlemen between Colombians and Mexicans, Venezuelan traffickers are becoming more sophisticated and self-sufficient, and now buy cocaine at the border in order to send it on to Mexico or Europe.

This trend is believed to be led by high-ranking members of the Venezuelan military, known as the “Cartel of the Suns” in reference to the sun insignia worn by Venezuelan generals.

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