HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Narcotics Seizures Up in 2012
BRIEF

Venezuela Narcotics Seizures Up in 2012

VENEZUELA / 21 DEC 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Venezuela announced it seized over 45 tons of drugs in 2012, although the nation is still believed to offer a favorable environment for cocaine traffickers, thanks to complicity from corrupt elements in the security forces and government.

On December 20, Interior and Justice Minister, Nestor Luis Reverol, released figures showing that in 2012, Venezuelan authorities seized more than 45 tons of narcotics, reported El Nacional. This marks an increase of roughly 3 tons on the amount seized in 2011.

A little over 60 percent (27.17 tons) of the total seized was cocaine, with the remainder being comprised predominantly of marijuana (39.58 percent).

Reverol added that 20 major drug traffickers had been arrested in the country throughout the year, bringing the total number of such detentions to 95 since 2006.

Among the most prominent of these were Colombian drug lords Daniel “El Loco” Barrera who was arrested in September, and Rastrojos leader Diego Perez Henao, alias “Diego Rastrojo.” Both have since been extradited to Colombia.

Authorities also destroyed 36 clandestine landing strips for drug flights and seized 18 planes used for trafficking, reported AVN.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Venezuelan government will use these figures to show how it is making successful efforts in the war on drugs. The country was black-listed by the United States in September for failing “demonstrably … to adhere to [its] obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements.”

A principal transit point for cocaine heading to Europe, Venezuela sees an estimated 200 tons of the drug pass through its territory annually according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sources. Thus, while 2012’s seizure figures are impressive, they are tiny fraction of what could be the actual amount transiting though this Andean nation.

Aiding drug traffickers in the country are corrupt elements of the military known as the “Cartel of the Suns,” (Cartel de los Soles). The loosely structured group is thought to be comprised of high-level officials within the army, navy and air force. For example, a former leader of Mexico’s Beltran Leyva Organization declared in September that he was able to ship cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico with the help of Venezuelan generals.

In addition, while the capture of several top-level traffickers is promising, it also points to Venezuela’s role as a refuge for powerful criminals. The arrest of El Loco Barrera was certainly a coup for the government, and highlighted its willingness to cooperate in multilateral efforts to detain drug lords; however, questions were raised as to how El Loco was able to remain in the country for so long without detection.

Crime has risen markedly in Venezuela under the administration of Hugo Chavez. Though one explanation could have to do with the regional dynamics of the drug trade, there is also a fear that government corruption and complicity could enable gangs to continue to flourish in Venezuela, meaning it will remain a key trafficking route for the foreseeable future.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Tags

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 AUG 2017

Another former Venezuelan official now in the United States has accused President Nicolás Maduro's son of drug trafficking, and connected powerful…

VENEZUELA / 3 OCT 2012

Once the most powerful civilian drug trafficker in Venezuela, Syrian-born Venezuelan citizen Walid Makled, otherwise known as El Turco or…

COLOMBIA / 29 AUG 2018

Rivers of gasoline flow across the desert border from Venezuela into Colombia’s La Guajira department, nourishing an immense illegal market…

About InSight Crime

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. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…