HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Blames Sinaloa Cartel for Air France Cocaine Shipment
BRIEF

Venezuela Blames Sinaloa Cartel for Air France Cocaine Shipment

SINALOA CARTEL / 1 SEP 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Officials in Venezuela have claimed that last year’s record cocaine seizure from an Air France flight out of Caracas belonged to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, in a statement that — whether accurate or not — appears designed to deflect attention away from the Venezuelan security forces.

In his testimony to the special congressional committee set up to investigate last year’s Air France trafficking scandal, former Venezuelan anti-drugs chief Brigadier General Alejandro Kerelis said the 1.3 ton cocaine shipment was sent by Sinaloa operatives trying out a new route to Europe, reported El Nacional.

After nearly a year of investigations, the commission has yet to produce a report. One of its members, Ricardo Sanchez, said the body is currently examining two theories, according to El Universal. The first is that the drugs were seized as part of an undercover operation, the second is that the seizure is a “false positive” — in the sense that the drugs existed but never passed through Venezuela. According to Sanchez, they have received no evidence proving the drugs came off the flight from Venezuela.

According to El Universal, Venezuelan investigators in the case complained the process had been hampered by a lack of information from French officials, who, they claimed, have offered no details on the luggage used or how the shipment was discovered and seized.

InSight Crime Analysis

The claim that a Mexican cartel was behind the now-notorious September 2013 Air France shipment is certainly plausible.

In the past, Colombian traffickers controlled routes through Venezuela, paying off corrupt Venezuelan security officials along the way. However, those corrupt officials began organizing their own networks to take a bigger cut of profits, becoming what is popularly known as the Cartel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns), a drug trafficking network of powerful high-ranking military officials. There is evidence to suggest that part of this process involved reaching out to Mexican groups.

SEE ALSO: Cartel of the Suns Profile

However, accurate or not, blaming the shipment on the arguably the biggest and certainly the most famous Latin American drug trafficking operation of them all, the Sinaloa Cartel, makes for a convenient distraction from the role of Venezuela’s military, which manages airport security, and the Cartel of the Suns.

The theories expressed by the commission also suggest obfuscation. The idea that the drugs did not come from Venezuela is not credible — not only would this involve remarkable dishonesty from the French officials, it would also ignore evidence the commission has examined, which included x-rays of the packages taken in Venezuela.

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

COLECTIVOS / 14 MAR 2012

Venezuela saw its most deadly year ever in 2011, according to a new report, thanks to the spread of urban…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

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

COLOMBIA / 9 NOV 2015

In its 2015 annual drug assessment, the DEA emphasizes Mexico cartel dominance of the US drug market, highlighting the growing…

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. …