HomeNewsBriefBrutal Prison Battle Leaves 16 Dead in Venezuela
BRIEF

Brutal Prison Battle Leaves 16 Dead in Venezuela

PRISONS / 18 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

A savage prison battle has left 16 dead in Venezuela, highlighting the horrendous conditions and lack of government control in the country’s penal system.

According to El Nacional, the confrontation at Maracaibo National Prison, which continued for 24 hours, was a battle for control between prison gang leaders — known as “pranes.”

The encounter apparently began when men under the command of Edwin Soto, alias “El Mocho Edwin,” knocked down a wall to attack a rival gang. An exchange of bullets, grenades and Molotov cocktails followed until their opponents eventually surrendered, reported El Universal.

Those who surrendered — including three rival pranes — were reportedly subjected to brutal treatment, with one’s heart removed, another’s eyes gouged out and a third castrated and his ears cut off. Pictures of dead bodies and severed limbs then began circulating on social networking websites, reported El Universal.

Soto is now being referred to as the “Gran Pran” (Great Pran), reported Entorno Inteligente.

The clashes took place less than a month after six inmates were killed in a confrontation sparked by the death of a previous gang leader at the hands of authorities.

InSight Crime Analysis

Venezuela is notorious for the horrendous conditions in its prisons and this is just the latest eruption of violence this year — in January, a prison had to be abandoned after a riot left 61 inmates dead.

Venezuelan authorities have little control over prisons, which are all but run by the gangs within them. From their prison cells, pranes coordinate a variety of illegal activities both inside and outside the prisons, including drug dealing, kidnapping and extortion. Last year, the underground economy in one prison alone was estimated to bring in $3.7 million a year.

While disputes between prison gangs and between gangs and guards are common, such an audacious and brutal assault underscores the lengths prisoners will go to control this lucrative market.

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.

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 28 FEB 2018

The justice and prison systems have managed to preserve the lives of the powerful once they are sentenced, but they…

BARRIO 18 / 8 JUN 2016

El Salvador’s high court declared conditions in the country’s overcrowded prisons unconstitutional in a ruling with implications for the government’s…

BRAZIL / 23 JAN 2013

Over 2,400 Brazilian prisoners escaped after being given leave to return home over the Christmas and New Year's Eve period,…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …