HomeNewsBriefVenezuela No.1 Trafficker in LatAm: Anti-Drugs Official
BRIEF

Venezuela No.1 Trafficker in LatAm: Anti-Drugs Official

ELITES AND CRIME / 30 SEP 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

A former top anti-drugs official in Venezuela has lambasted corruption in the country and branded it the “number one” drug trafficking nation in Latin America, highlighting how deeply the connections between organized crime and state institutions now run. 

Speaking to El Universal, ex-President of the National Anti-drugs Commission Bayardo Ramirez criticized the lack of a clear policy to rid the country of trafficking, which he said was deeply ingrained into certain corrupt sectors of the government.

Highlighting impunity surrounding the flow of drugs into the country from Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, and out towards Central America, the Caribbean and Africa, Ramirez declared that only regime change could effectively address the problem.

The assertions come on the same day El Nacional published an interview with the Hernan Matute, director of the Free Chair on Anti-Drugs Matters (CLIAD), in which he branded the country “the most corrupt” in Latin America and questioned how the country’s National Bolivarian Guard (GNB) could be left in charge of the investigation into the 1.3 ton consignment of cocaine recently uncovered in France, for which GNB officers have already been arrested. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Accusations of endemic corruption and deep official involvement in drug trafficking in Venezuela are unsurprising. As a departure point for drugs destined for both the United States and Europe, corruption permeates the security forces up to the highest levels. The so-called “Cartel of the Suns” (Cartel de los Soles) is the collective name attached to the various corrupt cells within the security forces that facilitate the flow of contraband through the country’s borders, ports and airports, and likely had a hand in the Air France flight. The fact the flight departed from an airport under strict GNB control only emphasizes the degree to which drug trafficking complicity is embedded in security forces and the decision to allow the GNB to oversee the investigation seems at best misguided, at worst corrupt.

SEE ALSO: Cartel de los Soles Profile

Drugs are not the only illicit interest of corrupt Venezuelan officials. Contraband smuggling is rife in the border regions, especially fuel smuggling. Cheap, subsidized fuel crosses the border into Colombia, or is dispatched in ships destined for Central America, and this illegal trade is also reliant on the complicity of officials.

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.

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 9 SEP 2013

Peru has issued a "red alert" for the capture of 90 people accused of corruption during the administration of former…

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 APR 2018

In an extraordinary admission of wrongdoing that could upend a process to select the new attorney general, Guatemala’s most powerful…

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 OCT 2016

In an incredible turn of events, the case file in the murder of Honduras' activist Berta Cáceres was apparently…

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…