Withdrawal from Anti-drug Agreements Benefits Cartels in Venezuela

first_imgBy Diálogo May 20, 2020 On February 25, in a combined operation, the Colombian Navy and Aruban security forces seized more than 5 tons of cocaine hidden inside a compartment of the cargo ship Aressa. The vessel that sailed under a Cameroonian flag had departed from Guaranao Port, in the Venezuelan state of Falcón, and was bound for Greece.The Aruban news portal 24ora said it was the largest cache seized in the island, according to the Aruban Attorney General’s Office.Mildred Camero, former president of the Venezuelan National Commission against Illicit Drug Use (CONACUID, in Spanish), said that this operation was possible thanks to coordination among Colombia, Aruba, and the United States, without the participation of Venezuelan security forces.This is another example in which first Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro, have broken off with international cooperation to counter narcotrafficking, in order to participate fully in this activity.The isolation process began in 2005, when Chávez ordered to halt the agreements signed with the U.S. Department of State’s Narcotics Affairs Section. These conventions governed, among several issues, the activities of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the country.Camero was in the United States when Chávez announced the decision. “When I returned to Venezuela, I knew I had been dismissed,” she said.From then on, Venezuela also withdrew from multilateral anti-drug cooperation forums of the Organization of American States and the Andean Community. In 2008, Chávez threatened to leave Interpol, when technicians of that institution validated evidence from computer files seized during a raid in northern Ecuador. The files linked the Chávez government with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.International cooperation for drug interdiction and drug use prevention, as well as money laundering detection, has been declining until reaching the current situation, in which it is “nonexistent,” Camero said.Complicit service members At the same time, several high-ranking officers, who were leading the fight against trafficking organizations, began to favor these groups, taking advantage of their positions of power. One of them would be Bolivarian National Guard Major Néstor Reverol, current Interior minister and former head of the National Anti-drug Office (ONA, in Spanish), the institution that replaced CONACUID in 2008.An indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in January 2015 says that Reverol, together with Brigadier General Edylberto Molina, “alerted narcotics traffickers to future drug raids or locations of law enforcement counter-narcotics activities, so that the narcotics traffickers could change the storage locations of narcotics or alter transportation routes or times and thus avoid detection by law enforcement.”Molina was the ONA’s general director during Reverol’s tenure. Later, when Maduro designated Reverol as Interior minister, he also appointed Molina as deputy minister of the Integrated Police System (VISIPOL, in Spanish).Camero said that Major General Hugo Carvajal, former director of Military Counterintelligence, was conducting a similar activity that favored cartels.In mid-March 2020, U.S. Attorney General William Barr accused Reverol, Carvajal, and Molina of contributing to building Maduro’s “corrupt regime.”With Venezuela’s withdrawal from international drug cooperation efforts — and the fact that more than 50 countries, including the United States and Venezuela’s neighboring countries, do not recognize the Maduro regime — other tactics have been implemented to prevent illegal shipments from leaving the country. International authorities have been using electronic surveillance and confidential informants with greater intensity. According to Camero, this helped detect the preparations for the cocaine shipment on board Aressa in December.José Luis Pirela, head of the Venezuelan National Assembly (AN, in Spanish) Subcommission for the Fight Against Drugs, Terrorism, and Organized Crime, shares this view, adding that the increase in surveillance over the country explains why large drug seizures are taking place in the Caribbean and ports of destination, such as Spain and France, rather than in Venezuelan territory.“The breakdown of international cooperation mechanisms has allowed narcotrafficking to reach alarming levels in Venezuela,” he said.The lawmaker believes that it is necessary to resume Venezuela’s participation in all international forums for both drug interdiction and drug use prevention.He added that the AN speaker, Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by the United States and more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s interim president, should seize this opportunity to renew these accords, and also create a parliamentary space to allow discussions to resume on the drug issue.last_img read more

Flanders Tire Slashings Part of Fisherman ‘Turf War,’ Cops Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Commercial fishermen who had their tires repeatedly slashed in a Flanders parking lot waited in the bushes until they caught the alleged tire slasher in the act and called police, authorities said.John Lombardi was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal mischief as a felony.Southampton Town Polcie said the 60-year-old Flanders man told investigators he did it because of a “turf war” between commercial fishermen, some of whom he believes take in more fish than the law allows.The fishermen who police said caught Lombardi told investigators that they watched him walk up to one of their trucks, look into the flatbed where horseshoe crabs—which commercial fishermen use as bait—in the back and then use a knife to puncture two tires.The witnesses held Lombardi until police officers arrived and took him into custody. He was released Monday on $500 bail.Detectives are continuing the investigation prior tire slashings.last_img read more

IMCA Modified wins in Texas put Sobbing, White, Wolla on Fast Shafts All-Star ballot

first_imgWyatt Howard, Mitchell Hunt, Bricen James, Aaron Johnson, Austin Kiefer, Cody Laney, Jeff Larson, Josh Long, Ryan McDaniel, Josh McGaha, Zach Madrid, Wade Manning, Hunter Marriott, Chris Mills, Clay Money and Bob Moore.  Rodney Morgan, Josh Most, Chris Nieman, Jason Noll, Jay Noteboom, Jake O’Neil, Brad Pounds, Tom Quint, Dereck Rhoden, Kyle Rohleder, Anthony Roth, Joel Rust, Cory Sample, Jim Sandusky, Robby Sawyer and Marlyn Seidler. IMCA Arizona Dirt Track Tour and Winter Challenge winners Casey Arneson, Chaz Baca, Jason Noll and Ricky Thornton Jr. all were already vote eligible. VINTON, Iowa – Three IMCA Modified events in as many nights in Texas put new candidates on the ballot for the 2020 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.  Jeff Aikey, Drew Armstrong, Austin Arneson, Casey Arneson, Chaz Baca, Eric Barnes, Brandon Beckendorf, Tom Berry Jr., Steven Bowers Jr., Cayden Carter, Kellen Chadwick, Cory Craver, Cory Davis, Zane DeVilbiss, Ethan Dotson and P.J. Egbert.  Chris Elliott, Trevor Fitz-Gibbon, Junior Flores, Kelsie Foley, Troy Foulger, Jeremy Frenier, John Gober, David Goode Jr., Josh Goodwin, Daniel Gottschalk, William Gould, Jordan Grabouski, Kevin Green, Richie Gustin, Clay Hale and Bobby Hogge IV.  Jesse Sobbing topped the Saturday night Ice Breaker main event at Abilene Speedway before rookie Jon White Jr. and Jason Wolla were winners at Heart O’ Texas Speedway and Grayson County Speedway, respectively. The 80 drivers on the All-Star ballot now include: And Kelly Shryock, Todd Shute, Brandon Smith, Jesse Sobbing, Andy Strait, Shawn Strand, Matt Szecsodi, Jeff Taylor, Ricky Thornton Jr., Eric Tomlinson, Marcus Tomlinson, Nick Trenchard, Rob VanMil, Jon White Jr., R.C. Whitwell and Jason Wolla.last_img read more