HomeNewsBriefVenezuela-FARC Drug Trafficking Alliance May Explain DEA Expulsion
BRIEF

Venezuela-FARC Drug Trafficking Alliance May Explain DEA Expulsion

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 20 SEP 2019 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

New evidence suggests that late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez allied with the FARC to “flood” the United States with cocaine, potentially explaining his expulsion of the DEA from the country.

The plan was presented to Chávez’s senior intelligence officials in 2005, according to US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) files seen by El Mundo. Its alleged aim was to combat the United States with an onslaught of illegal drugs, trafficked through Venezuela with the collaboration of security forces. The cocaine was sourced from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia - FARC) in exchange for weapons.

Former intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal, who defected earlier this year and has made key revelations about the Venezuelan government, was allegedly responsible for coordinating the operations. Officials who maintain senior roles in the current administration of Nicolás Maduro were also present at the 2005 meeting, according to the DEA file. These include Diosdado Cabello, current president of the National Constituent Assembly, Tareck El Aissami, now Minister for Industry, and Henry de Jesús Rangel Silva, current governor of Trujillo.

SEE ALSO: Drug Trafficking Within the Venezuelan Regime: The ‘Cartel of the Suns’

All have previously been identified as key players in the Cartel of the Suns, a drug trafficking network that continues to operate within the Venezuelan state.

The DEA document compiles evidence from witnesses who worked within the Chávez administration, including a former judge who claims to have attended the 2005 meeting. It was presented as part of the US extradition request for Carvajal, who was arrested in Madrid in April 2019. The request was refused.

Carvajal had previously split with the Maduro government and made public statements linking the new administration to drug trafficking. He emphatically denies his own involvement.

InSight Crime Analysis

The DEA file could shed light on the timing of Chávez’s expulsion of the DEA from Venezuela.

Chávez ended cooperation with the DEA in 2005, the same year in which the alleged meeting where he ordered the US to be "flooded" with cocaine took place. If confirmed, the DEA evidence would suggest that his intention was to remove investigations which could expose this drug trafficking network he was controlling from Venezuela.

At the time, Chávez justified the decision on the claim that “the DEA was using the fight against drug trafficking as a mask, to support drug trafficking, to carry out intelligence in Venezuela against the government.”

Although the move was in keeping with Chávez’s position against what he saw as US imperialism, the specific reasons behind the expelling of the DEA were never made clear.

SEE ALSO: Key Criminal Revelations from Former Venezuela Intelligence Chief

The DEA’s expulsion marked a watershed for Venezuela’s role in global drug trafficking. International seizures of drugs that had transited Venezuela tripled in 2006, according to US authorities.

This claim is supported by the United Nations’ annual World Drug Report. Whereas the 2004 report makes passing references to Venezuela as one of many cocaine transit countries, the 2010 report details how Venezuela had boomed to become a primary transshipment hub.

However, the 2010 UN report also considers Europe to have been the primary destination for cocaine moved through Venezuela. This contrasts with the DEA’s claim that the purpose of the Chávez-FARC alliance was to channel cocaine into 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

ARGENTINA / 29 JAN 2021

While unrest gripped much of Latin America in 2019, it was the coronavirus that took center stage and ripped through…

CARIBBEAN / 5 OCT 2020

A patrol ship in the Dutch Caribbean has caught a ton of cocaine in a rapid series of seizures, displaying…

COLOMBIA / 14 JUN 2021

A former FARC leader and veteran drug trafficker has sided with ex-commander Iván Márquez, a move that could prove crucial…

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…