HomeNewsAnalysisVenezuela Coastal State Could Be Hot New Drug Trafficking Route
ANALYSIS

Venezuela Coastal State Could Be Hot New Drug Trafficking Route

VENEZUELA / 4 DEC 2018 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuelan authorities seized six major drug shipments during the month of November in the eastern state of Anzoátegui, potentially indicating an increase in drug flow through the coastal area due to gangs seeking alternate routes to export substances coming from Colombia.

On November 25, agents seized 1,020 kilograms of cocaine and arrested five people, including three Colombians. "927 packages were transported in a truck, from the city of Machiques in the state of Zulia to the Caribbean islands, with their final destination being the United States," said official Jhonny Salazar, according to a statement from the National Anti-Drug Office, as reported by the newspaper Panorama.

Four days prior, the Anzoátegui state police reported the seizure of 236 packages of marijuana, hidden in a passenger bus traveling between Caracas and Carúpano, in the state of Sucre. The three staff on board the vehicle were arrested.

The third seizure of 839 packages of marijuana and 62 of cocaine was made on November 10, also in Anzoátegui. The Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Boliviariana — GNB) detained two men, including a retired army sergeant, transporting the drugs in the Moja Casabe area of the municipality of Miranda.

    SEE ALSOVenezuela Institutional Weaknesses Facilitating Cocaine Trafficking: Report   

In mid-November, Admiral William Serantes Pinto, commander of the Eastern Integral Defense Strategic Region (Redior), which covers Anzoátegui, reported a fourth seizure and that three blows were dealt to drug trafficking efforts in less than ten days. He added that more than two tons of drugs had been seized in the state in 2018 so far.

Additionally, police sources revealed to InSight Crime that during November 2018, at least one more ton of drugs had passed through Anzoátegui in two other drug trafficking operations, which the authorities were unable to prevent.

InSight Crime Analysis

The coastal nature of Anzoátegui state is likely to have caught the interest of drug trafficking organizations, which may be searching for new routes to ship out the large quantities of drugs being produced in Colombia and sent to Venezuela.

In this context, the director of the National Anti-Drug Office, José Grillo, reported that seizures in Anzoátegui have increased 67 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. Furthermore, anti-narcotics authorities are all too aware that not all drugs passing through the state of Anzoátegui and through eastern Venezuela, in general, are being seized.

A police official told InSight Crime that traffickers also favor using the state's roads due to the lack of surveillance in some rural areas.

    SEE ALSO: Venezuela, the New Regional Crime Hub

On the other hand, these seizures also coincide with the discovery of clandestine airstrips in November in a rural area of Guárico state (bordering Anzoátegui and Apure) and the seizure of two aircraft. This suggests a network that includes air connections air, with the aim of sending drugs from Colombia to Caribbean islands and on to the rest of the globe, including Honduras and Mexico, as authorities have specified.

Sources within the scientific police consulted by InSight Crime also revealed an investigation into GNB officials aiding drug trafficking operations in Anzoátegui. Evidence points to certain controls being avoided on key shipments, or bribes being paid to soldiers for routes to be cleared for drug transports.

Finally, it should be remembered that Anzoátegui is one of the states where the presence of the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación – ELN) of Colombia has recently been detected.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links 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.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 APR 2022

Elements of the Venezuelan underworld, whether drug cartels, street gangs or illegal mining groups, have hit upon a unique way…

COLOMBIA / 21 OCT 2022

The re-opening of the Colombia-Venezuela border was a momentous occasion. But did it come too early?…

PRISONS / 17 MAR 2022

The families of Venezuelan detainees have complained that prisoners are being extorted by guards and officials in order to simply…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…