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CARACAS , liquid cocaine intercepted headed for Mexico

Authorities in Venezuela today intercepted 20 tons of chemicals, liquid cocaine allegedly in a boat in Zulia state (northwest) bound for Mexico, the Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami. ”

CARACAS , liquid cocaine intercepted headed for Mexico
CARACAS , liquid cocaine intercepted headed for Mexico

 

We just intercepted a boat that was carrying four containers with a gross weight of 20 tons of chemicals, “the minister said in a speech broadcast on state television. The Assami explained that after a “first review and guidance tests “detected the presence of liquid cocaine in the four containers were destined for Mexico, specifically to the coastal city of Veracruz (center).

“We are currently developing, analyzing the percentage of purity that is in each of containers and the amount of liquid cocaine was intended to bring to Mexico, “he added. “is one of the largest seizure operations we have done in the history of Venezuela, a blow to drug trafficking,” he said.

The minister said in the operation developed by the National Guard (GNB-military police), three people were arrested, one Colombian national, and stressed that they are making “other raids.”

The GNB and other police during 2011 seized a total of 42.33 tons of various narcotics, of which 26.3 were cocaine, The Aissami revealed in March.

 
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Posted by on 06/27/2012 in Crime!, Drugs

 

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Mexicos’ Diplomat kidnapped in Venezuela then freed!

Mexican diplomat and wife kidnapped overnight in Venezula
Mexican diplomat and wife kidnapped overnight in Venezula

Mexico’s envoy to Caracas was seized overnight then freed in the latest high-profile kidnapping in Venezuela, where violent crime is routinely listed as citizens’ top worry. In the style of “express” kidnappings that are rife in Venezuela, four armed men seized ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife in their car after a reception in the upscale Country Club zone of Caracas, diplomats and officials said.

The kidnappers then released the couple in a slum before dawn on Monday.

“We’re so happy he is safe, I’ve been up following the case all night,” said a senior European diplomat, whose own security has been increased in recent months.

Kidnappings, armed robberies and murders are common in the South American OPEC member nation that has enormous oil wealth alongside widespread poverty.

The Venezuelan attorney general’s office said a full investigation was underway.

Mexican embassy spokesman Fernando Godinez said his boss was recovering well after his release.

“His health is okay. He and his wife are giving statements [to the police] right now,” Godinez told a local radio station. “We regret this situation deeply.”

Senior diplomats from Chile and Belarus were also seized in similar incidents last year, according to diplomatic sources.

The Chilean consul, Juan Carlos Fernandez, was injured by a bullet, and beaten during his November kidnapping.

Robbery was the assumed motive of those incidents.

High crime statistics

“We don’t know yet what happened last night, if they robbed the Mexican ambassador or asked for a ransom or what,” said a foreign security expert at one of the embassies in Caracas, who was tracking the case closely. “It’s a worrying trend though.”

Late last year, Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, also was kidnapped for two days during a visit home, before being released during a raid by security forces on a mountain hideout.

Crime is arguably the top issue for voters in the run-up to an October presidential election.

Police are often involved, and murder rates make Caracas one of the most dangerous cities in the world, ranking with some war-zones.

Though rich and poor alike complain constantly about crime in Venezuela, the issue has traditionally not weighed heavily on President Hugo Chavez‘s approval ratings.

The latest poll released on Monday by the local Hinterlaces company gave him a 64 per cent approval rating, with 50 per cent of those surveyed saying they would vote for him in October.

“Chavez supporters have a strong emotional attachment to him and this has led some of them to fail to assess the situation objectively despite the statistics and the growing evidence of the government’s responsibility [for the crime problem],” said Venezuelan analyst Diego Moya-Ocampos of the IHS Global Insight think tank. Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami says Venezuela’s official annual murder rate is around 48 per 100,000 residents, but non-governmental organizations put the figure higher.

The Venezuelan Violence Observatory, for example, said murders had doubled in the last decade to reach a record of more than 19,000 – or about 60 per 100,000 people – in 2011.

“But in Venezuela we have not had a war. How can this be explained?” the NGO asked in its latest publication, saying political polarisation underpinned the problem.

 
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Posted by on 01/31/2012 in Crime!

 

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Colombia’s top drug trafficker arrested; Extradition to USA + 5M$ reward?

 

Maximiliano Bonilla, alias 'Valenciano,

Maximiliano Bonilla, alias 'Valenciano,

Venezuela has captured one of Colombia‘s top drug traffickers, just as President Juan Manuel Santos visited his Venezuelan counterpart in Caracas, an arrest that may have profound implications for the Colombian underworld.

Maximiliano Bonilla, alias ‘Valenciano,’ was one of Colombia’s most powerful and prolific drug traffickers, running a criminal empire in the city of Medellin and along the Caribbean Coast. He headed a series of criminal organizations, including factions of the ‘Oficina de Envigado’ in Medellin and the ‘Paisas’ along the coast, from their operating base in the city of Barranquilla.

It was not a coincidence that he was arrested on the eve of the meeting in Venezuela between Presidents Juan Manuel Santos and Hugo Chavez. An intelligence source said that the Colombian police intelligence, DIPOL, had been following members of Bonilla’s family for two years, and had pin pointed his movements, feeding the information to the Venezuelan authorities to secure the arrest on Sunday night to highlight the increasing cooperation between the two nations. Despite having a security detail of 15 triggermen, all with Venezuelan IDs like himself, Bonilla came without a fight in the Venezuelan city of Maracay in Aragua state on the Caribbean Coast.

The Venezuelan Interior Minister, Tarek El Aissami, said that Bonilla, aged 39, would be sent to the U.S., where there is a five-million dollar reward for him, as well as an extradition warrant on drug trafficking charges.

“This is one of the most important captures we have made in recent years in Venezuela,” stated El Aissami.

Bonilla had tried to change his appearance from the heavyset, clean shaven look on his wanted poster, to a mustached, bespectacled and slighter version, thanks to a gastric bypass. He has also been constantly on the move, not just in Venezuela and Colombia, but passing through Panama and perhaps other Central American nations.

Bonilla’s criminal career began in Medellin, and it is here that his arrest is likely to have the greatest effect. Underworld legend has it that Bonilla’s father was killed when he was 13 years old and he was ‘adopted’ by Diego Murillo, alias ‘Don Berna,’ the successor of Pablo Escobar in Medellin. Bonilla became a favorite of Murillo’s and one of his most trusted assassins, consummating his first kill when he was just 15 and by 16 was running his own group of hit men.

When Murillo was extradited to the U.S. in 2008, and his successor, Carlos Mario Aguilar, alias ‘Rogelio,’ did a deal with U.S. authorities, a war broke out for supremacy in Medellin, principally between Bonilla and his arch rival Erick Vargas Cardenas, alias ‘Sebastian.’ While Bonilla was the most powerful of the two, in terms of resources, Vargas is believed to be in and around Medellin, leading his faction personally. Bonilla commanded the loyalty of around 1200 gang members in Medellin and has another 600 men along the Caribbean Coast. However with the arrest of Bonilla, the victory of Vargas in Medellin is still not assured, as another player has entered the city over the last two years: Led in Medellin by Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias ‘Mi Sangre,’ the Urabeños were born from the illegal right wing paramilitary army of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and have many ex guerrilla and military fighters, able to carry out sophisticated operations with heavy firepower.

While the conflict in Medellin is certain to be affected by the capture of Bonilla, there may be a short-term consequence in Mexico, especially for his partners the Zetas. Bonilla is believed to have been one of the principal Colombian suppliers of cocaine to the Zetas as the latter wages its bloody war against the Sinaloa Cartel. An interruption to the supply of drugs may give the rival Sinaloans a temporary advantage they can exploit until the Zetas make up the shortfall. Shipments from Bonilla have been tracked by authorities not only in Mexico, but also Jamaica, Guatemala and Honduras.

Within Colombia there have been reports that Bonilla had links to the rebel group of the National Liberation Army (ELN), securing a steady supply of coca base for his cocaine laboratories from the guerrillas, who control much of the coca crops in parts of Antioquia, Arauca, Norte de Santander, Cauca and Nariño.

 
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Posted by on 11/29/2011 in Crime!

 

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