HomeNewsBriefColombian Airline Executive to Testify on Venezuela Drug Flights
BRIEF

Colombian Airline Executive to Testify on Venezuela Drug Flights

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 29 JAN 2016 BY SAM TABORY EN

A Colombian airline executive has turned himself over to US authorities and is expected to testify about drug flights leaving Venezuela. However, it is not a given that his testimony will directly implicate high-level traffickers. 

On January 8, Jorge Enrique Pérez Ruiz, the former owner of the now-defunct Colombian airline West Caribbean Airways, quietly turned himself over to US authorities, reported El Tiempo

According to the details of a plea bargain negotiated over a period of eight months, Pérez Ruiz was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in piloting a drug flight between Panama and Venezuela's Apure state, a known drug trafficking hub, with the intention of collecting a shipment of cocaine ultimately bound for the United States. The former executive will be eligible for parole after having served two years of his sentence. 

The plea bargain and sentencing deal reportedly take into account Pérez Ruiz's promise to offer authorities his "total cooperation." Court documents also reveal that Pérez Ruiz has aided authorities in carrying out undercover investigations. 

This latest development is just one of many recent high-profile efforts on behalf of the US Justice Department to go after drug trafficking networks in Venezuela, including bringing charges against high-ranking officials in the security forces and relatives of President Nicolas Maduro. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Pérez Ruiz's cooperation means the US has added another viable witness to the cadre of former drug traffickers, and at least one defected security chief, who are working with authorities to build cases against trafficking rings in Venezuela. Of particular interest to US authorities is any information that could further unmask the Cartel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns), a term used to refer to a drug trafficking network made up of high-ranking officials in the Venezuelan military and security forces. 

SEE ALSO: Cartel de los Soles News

While Pérez Ruiz will surely be able to offer operational details about drug flights in Venezuela, specifically those leaving Apure state, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to implicate any specific individuals, let alone security or military officers who might be members of the Cartel de los Soles. While the Cartel de los Soles is thought to be active in Apure state, so are other drug trafficking groups such as Colombian guerrilla group the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). 

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.

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

PRISONS / 17 MAR 2022

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

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

In July 2020, British drug trafficker Robert Dawes was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in one…

COCAINE / 10 DEC 2020

The killing of an Indigenous leader in Bahia Solano, on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, adds to mounting violence that has…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…