HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Extradites 'Valenciano' to US
BRIEF

Venezuela Extradites 'Valenciano' to US

OFICINA DE ENVIGADO / 16 DEC 2011 BY RONAN GRAHAM EN

Just over two weeks after he was captured, Venezuela has handed over Colombian drug trafficker Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias "Valenciano," to US authorities.

Bonilla was presented to US counter-drug officials at Caracas international airport on Thursday and led to a US-bound plane. He will now be tried by a court in the US on charges of shipping tons of cocaine into the country through Central America and Mexico, with the assistance of Mexico's Zetas drug cartel.

The Colombian drug lord, who led a number of factions of the Medellin-based Oficina de Envigado gang, was arrested in November in the Venezuelan city of Maracay, in a joint operation carried out by Venezuelan police and Interpol. He had allegedly been tracked for around two years by the Colombian police intelligence, DIPOL, who informed Venezuelan authorities of his whereabouts.

The US government had issued a warrant for Bonilla’s arrest and had offered a reward of up to $5 million for any information leading to his capture.

The timing of the arrest, which occurred just hours before Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was set to visit Caracas, was no doubt intentional, as the Venezuelan government is in the process of restoring diplomatic ties with Colombia. Bonilla's capture offered Venezuelan officials an opportunity to demonstrate the tough stance the country is now taking against organized crime and drug trafficking.

Venezuela has historically been viewed in some quarters as a safe haven for drug traffickers due to the apparent willingness of the government to shelter some high-profile criminals from extradition.

Bonilla’s extradition represents the first time Venezuela has sent a convicted or alleged criminal directly to the US, since Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. In 2006, Venezuela freed Dominican Holguin Ovalle, who was wanted on drug trafficking charges in the US.

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

HOMICIDES / 16 MAY 2011

Colombian police have arrested the alleged second-in-command of a faction of the Medellin mafia, another indication that the security forces…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

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

EL KOKI / 14 MAR 2022

In December 2021, residents of Tejerías, a small city in the northern state of Aragua, Venezuela, started to notice strange…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…