HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Police Gun Down Colombian Gangster on Border
BRIEF

Venezuela Police Gun Down Colombian Gangster on Border

COLOMBIA / 19 JAN 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuelan police have killed a former Colombian paramilitary accused of committing murders and trafficking drugs along the Venezuela-Colombia frontier, a development which the Maduro government could use to further justify keeping the border closed. 

Walter Raúl Silva, alias "Carevieja," was killed by Venezuelan investigative police and military intelligence officials on January 16, reported El Tiempo. He was reportedly killed in the border state of Táchira.

Via Twitter, the governor of Táchira called Carevieja the leader of a local faction of Colombian criminal group the Rastrojos. Both the Rastrojos, rival criminal group the Urabeños, and a dissident faction of the Urabeños are active running criminal activities like contraband and drug trafficking along the Colombia-Venezuela frontier. 

Carevieja was wanted on extortion, homicide, and drug trafficking charges, the governor of Táchira tweeted. According to El Tiempo, Carevieja led a group of 48 armed men, and had managed to take over most of the territory once controlled by a rival commander in the Urabeños. 

16-01-16-colombia-carevieja

Walter Raúl Silva, alias "Carevieja"

InSight Crime Analysis

It is significant that Carevieja was killed in an operation led by Venezuela's investigative police. As InSight Crime learned during field research in the Colombia-Venezuela border region in late 2015, many of the Colombian criminal gangs feel safer on the Venezuelan side of the border. This is likely thanks to their contacts within Venezuela's notoriously corrupt Bolivarian National Guard. 

Venezuela closed its border with Colombia in August 2015, due to concerns over contraband and violent criminal groups. While there have been exceptions for some types of border crossings, President Nicolás Maduro said in Congress last week that the frontier would remain closed indefinitely until rule of law was established in the region. Maduro blamed "a thousand devils" coming in from Colombia, as well as Venezuelan "paramilitaries," for violence and crime in the area, the AFP reported

SEE ALSO:  Colombia News and Profiles

The ongoing presence of criminal groups, like the one led by Carevieja, may yet be used as further justification for keeping the Venezuela-Colombia border closed. It is worth asking whether doing so will help Colombia and Venezuela better address the problem of criminality along the frontier, as it is doubtful that the closed border will do much to affect contraband over the long term. By the time InSight Crime finished field research in the area in late 2015, the Venezuela-Colombia contraband trade appeared to have moved around closed border crossings. Two of the main crossing points for contraband -- the bridge between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Venezuela city of San Cristobal, and another bridge in the Colombian municipality of Puerto Santander -- do appear to have been affected by the border closure. However, smugglers have now moved to more remote crossing points to continue their smuggling operations.

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 / 16 MAR 2018

The recent arrest of an ex-FARC criminal boss who controlled swathes of drug trafficking territory points to a key scenario in…

COLOMBIA / 23 JAN 2014

The International Criminal Court has called the Urabeños Colombia's most dangerous and well-organized criminal organization, stating that the group is…

COLOMBIA / 11 NOV 2019

Destruction of wildlife spurred by illegal fishing in the Ciénaga de Simití swampland in the northern Colombia department of Bolívar…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…