HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Destroys 17 Cocaine Labs Near Colombia Border
BRIEF

Venezuela Destroys 17 Cocaine Labs Near Colombia Border

COLOMBIA / 23 OCT 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

Authorities in Venezuela have destroyed 17 cocaine labs near the border with Colombia, highlighting the continued pattern of the migration of Colombian organized crime.

Members of the anti-drug division of Venezuela's National Guard discovered the drug production facilities in northwestern border state Zulia state. Security officials found more than two tons of cocaine and processing materials in the labs, bringing the total amount of drugs seized in Venezuela this year to 39 tons, reported AFP.

La Serrania de Perija, where the labs were discovered, is a mountain range bordering Colombia's Cesar and Norte de Santander departments.

The seizure is not the first major laboratory bust in Zulia state this year. In March, authorities dismantled 21 cocaine labs in the town of Jesus Maria Semprun, just 150 meters from the Colombian border.

InSight Crime Analysis

Drug trafficking and organized crime have a long history on the Colombia-Venezuela border, where armed Colombian groups have operated for years. Zulia state in particular has historically been a stronghold for several fronts of the guerilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as well as the narco-paramilitaries of the BACRIM (from the Spanish acronym for "criminal bands").

SEE ALSO: FARC in Venezuela

Initially, these groups primarily used Venezuela to escape the attentions of Colombian security forces. However, the country's growing importance to international drug trafficking, the boom in other criminal activities in the border region, and the country's easily corrupted security forces have led to a deeper criminal migration, with groups establishing bases, recruiting locally and running criminal enterprises in Venezuela.

The discovery of cocaine labs follows this pattern of criminal migration. Although authorities have been aware of the presence of such labs for some time, the sheer number discovered so far this year compared to the past suggests processing operations are growing quickly. 

Until recently, the territory around the Norte de Santander-Zulia border was controlled by the Rastrojos, but recent events suggest rivals the Urabeños are now staking a claim to the region. However, the labs are more likely linked to the FARC or other guerrilla groups, which oversee coca production in the region and are still able to operate with relative freedom on the Venezuelan side of the border.

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

COLOMBIA / 2 MAY 2011

The Australian Crime Commission, a government agency, has published its 2011 report on organized crime in the country. The…

COLOMBIA / 30 MAY 2017

The Gulf of Urabá boasts 323 kilometers of porous, thick, and deep coast dominated by the whim of the so-called…

COLOMBIA / 26 MAR 2015

A prominent academic and US military official is the most recent voice to call for a “Plan Colombia” in Central…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.