HomeNewsBrief'Venezuela Never Reported Cocaine Haul in Jet Plane'
BRIEF

'Venezuela Never Reported Cocaine Haul in Jet Plane'

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 15 SEP 2014 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Venezuelan authorities never disclosed that another cocaine haul was discovered in a jet plane earlier this year, raising new questions about the amount of drugs being moved through the country's main international airport to destinations abroad.

A story published by Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional revealed that authorities found 168 kilos of cocaine in a small jet on April 16. Neither Venezuela's Public Ministry nor the top anti-drug authority disclosed information about this seizure, the newspaper reported.

The cocaine was packed into four suitcases on board an aircraft that was bound for the Dominican Republic. The plane took off from Venezuela's biggest international airport, the Maiquetia, just outside Caracas, but landed again after just five minutes in the air due to a reported technical problem. 

The subsequent investigation saw seven people arrested, including an officer from the Bolivarian National Guard. 

InSight Crime Analysis

This recent seizure -- just 168 kilos packed into four suitcases -- pales in comparison to past incidents, like the ton of cocaine found on an Air France jet that flew from Caracas to Paris last year.  But as El Nacional suggests, the fact that the April seizure was never reported by Venezuelan authorities raises questions about what other drug hauls the public isn't hearing about. 

Venezuela's anti-drug police haven't handled security at the Maiquetia international airport since 2006. Instead, it has been in the hands of the Bolivarian National Guard, elements of which are believed to be deeply involved in cocaine trafficking as part of a drug trafficking network known as the Cartel de los Soles. Several National Guard officials were arrested following last year's Air France bust, as well as during an investigation involving an Italian woman -- the former secretary of ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- who was caught trafficking cocaine from Venezuela earlier this year.

SEE ALSO: Cartel de los Soles Profile

What Venezuela desperately needs is a thorough investigation into which high-level officials of the National Guard are complicit in the drug trade rather than more arrests of low-ranking officials and airport workers. But it's doubtful that President Nicolas Maduro's administration has the political will to push this through, given his need to stay on good terms with the security forces. And so long as airport drug inspection remains in the hands of the National Guard, these problems will likely continue.

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 MAR 2022

After dozens of coordinated events to paralyze portions of Colombia, ELN militants underscored that the armed group remains the country's…

COCAINE / 13 APR 2022

The arrest of yet another alleged Sinaloa Cartel emissary in Colombia has once again raised questions about the extent of…

ELN / 6 APR 2022

It was 2019 when the Colombian guerrillas first arrived to the Cataniapo river basin, known as Ähuiyäru De’iyu Ręję to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…