HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Investigates Jet Plane Drug Bust in Dominican Republic
BRIEF

Venezuela Investigates Jet Plane Drug Bust in Dominican Republic

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 1 APR 2015 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Four members of Venezuela’s National Guard and a prominent businessman have been arrested for allegedly smuggling cocaine in a jet plane to the Dominican Republic, highlighting the popularity of this drug trafficking route, as well as Venezuela's unfortunate tendency to only investigate low-ranking military figures.

Venezuela’s National Guard (GNB) arrested Juan Carlos Araujo Duran -- president of a corporate marketing and event management company -- in Caracas on March 30, as part of a probe into a drug smuggling ring, reported El Nacional. A first sergeant of the GNB was also detained at the Charallave international airport in Miranda state.

The investigation involves a 450-kilo shipment of cocaine flown in a private jet from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic on March 17, where it was seized by anti-drug agents in that country. 

A total of 11 people have been detained so far, including two other sergeants and a lieutenant of the GNB, who had been assigned to the Charavalle airport anti-drug unit.  

The private jet plane's five passengers -- all Venezuelan nationals -- remain in custody in the Dominican Republic. Another four members of the Dominican military are under investigation in relation to the case.

Araujo’s company -- active since 1996 -- has offices in 14 cities throughout Venezuela, and its client list once included Pepsi and Herbalife. The company is also known for organizing concerts for famous Latin American musicians in Venezuela. 

InSight Crime Analysis

This ongoing probe is a welcome show of action by Venezuelan anti-drug authorities. Elements of Venezuela’s military -- particular the National Guard -- have routinely been implicated in facilitating drug shipments through Venezuela, with high-ranking officers rumored to make up what is known as the Cartel of the Suns.

However, as with this case, it is extremely rare for military leadership to be arrested and prosecuted. Instead, it is the rank-and-file members who typically take the brunt of the fallout when Venezuela does decide to look into military involvement in drug trafficking.

SEE ALSOCartel of the Suns Profile

Given widespread impunity and its porous border with Colombia, Venezuela has been a favorite staging point for cocaine traffickers moving their product to foreign markets in the United States and Europe. In recent years, the Dominican Republic has also seen an uptick in drug trafficking, and this is not the first time private aircraft have been found moving drugs between the two countries.

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

CHILE / 21 OCT 2021

Authorities in Chile are on high alert due to reports that a Venezuelan gang known as Tren de Aragua is…

EL KOKI / 23 JUL 2021

Salesmen in Caracas have come up with an enterprising response to the Venezuelan capital’s descent into criminal warfare: selling devotional…

ARGENTINA / 29 JAN 2021

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

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…