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Corruption in Venezuela has created cocaine superhighway in the US

A CNN investigation that lasted for a month in the northern cocaine route from farms where it had grown up in Colombia, and found that the number of suspected aviation drug carriers from Venezuela had risen from two flights per week in 2017 to almost daily in 2018, according to a US official. This year, the same official has seen as many as five nights of flights in the sky at once.

Airplanes full of Colombian cocaine used to depart from the remote southern southern Venezuela region. So far they have departed from more developed in the northwest region to reduce their flight time, US and regional officials said.

Officers involved in fighting deadly trade illustrate a funny profitable courier system for the Venezuelan government. "Drug smugglers are more exploiting the conspiracy of Venezuelan authorities, and more recently the power vacuum," said a US official. Each cargo from South America is beneficial that the airlines transporting traffickers are cheap in comparison; most are used only once and then disposed of or disposed of on arrival.

A large part of revenues goes to the countries where drugs are passed, from the jungles of Colombia to Venezuela and often on the coast of Honduran. The confidential 201

8 US radar map of airplane routes seen by CNN shows their departure from the Zulia region in northwestern Venezuela, their northward passage to the Caribbean, and then their sharp turn to the West towards their destinations in the remote farmlands of Guatemala, on the coast of Honduran, and some of the Caribbean. From there, the drugs were sent to Mexico and then distributed to American cities.

A US official estimates that in 2018 alone, 240 metric tons (265 tonnes for US readers) of cocaine crossed Venezuela from Colombia to surpass the country. Other officials involved in drug trade resistance say that the estimation is conservative. Colombian massive cocaine, when cut and distributed, gets $ 39 billion in US roads, according to an estimate of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for CNN.

US officials recently expressed concern that President Donald Trump's proposed ban on all types of assistance in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador created a "bonanza" among traffickers who led in Venezuela, as a US assistance to three Central American centers specifically targeting the cocaine trade. "Right now, it's open tomorrow," said a law enforcement official of the United States, "then it will be free for everyone."

The years of the allegations

have been accused of high-ranking Venezuelan officials of drug trafficking. Drug warnings are now a sign of urgent need for money within the crisis of Venezuela's economic hyperinflation, and widespread corruption in senior government officials of Maduro, said many officials. Colombian officials who are rarely quoted in the record also say that drug smuggling has recently been involved in Colombian eight thousand guerrilla groups ELN working in military Maduro.

In 2017, former Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami was sanctioned by the US Treasury for overseeing or partial ownership of "sending narcotics over £ 1,000 (2,200 pounds) from Venezuela on numerous occasions . " In March, El Aissami, now Venezuela's industry minister, was accused of being in New York for facilitating drug trafficking.

He did not answer new charges, but tweeted two days after they were unsealed: "LOYAL ALWAYS! ANTIIMERIALISTS ALWAYS !! PATRIOTS ALWAYS !! CHAVISTAS ALWAYS !! WE CAN BE !!!!" In May 2018, Goddado Cabello, the head of the Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly and the increase of the number of Secondary Nicolas Maduro, was also advised that "directly involved in trafficking activities in narcotics." He replied that there was no evidence of his involvement in trafficking, and the penalties against him in general stated: "If there are persecuted politicians, that Venezuelan officials are authorized by the US You can keep your penalties."

Many other Venezuelan officials face similar US accusations, denied by the Venezuelan government. They did not comment on this report, despite their requests.

Venezuelan scramble for cash, due to excessive recession caused by bad economic management, has led to the rise of risks taken by pilots. Another US official said that they were often used as commercial aircraft pilots who used to fly passengers. "Thirty planes have crashed in the last three months, according to some reports," a US official said.

The size of the operation was confirmed by a government official in the region, claiming the flights used 50 masked runways in the northwestern region of Zulia in Venezuela. Drug cargo ships usually fly through transponders emitting a signal that identifies them with radar systems moved.

Secret runways

CNN gained access to the elite Honduran military force known as Fusina to visit the areas of the Honduran Mosquitos region where drug offshoots from Venezuela's land on secret runways.

The tail marks of most airplanes found by CNN in Moscow show that they came from the US. The first US official told CNN that dozens of planes were bought in US shell auction companies and then shipped to the south.

Some of the planes are hidden, damaged and exposed to the side of the temporary airstrip, which can not be carried out by large rocks created by Honduran military explosives. Others are hidden, drowning in the bend of a river, but visible from the helicopter.

Honduran CNN military officials said that consumers have gained understanding of local fishermen how to recover the cocaine lost in law enforcement interceptions or interceptions. If a smuggler is expected to be caught, he throws the cocaine on the water, attached to a flotation device. Such bundles typically weigh 30 kilos (66 kilos), and fishermen are paid $ 150,000 if they are returned to cartels.

While assisting US aid technology helps reduce the number of illegal drug exports that occur in the territory of Colombia to virtually zero, traffickers have an easy alternative just across the border with Venezuela. "One of the problems we face is that the border area is huge," Colombian Colonel Mauricio Gonzalez told CNN. "We stopped on flights that were trying to leave Colombia with drugs, but narcotraffickers benefit from places we can not control."


Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaido as its interim president, means some Colombian officials mention the name of Venezuela. But it is evident that most cocaine grown in the border region of Colombia's Vichada is encountered in a long, well-formed eastern border.

The Colombian Air Force flew to CNN in Vichada, to see dozens of "trochas", or small passageways, with pure cocaine powder or smaller paste sold for sale. Small openings in the forest where cocoa leaves are harvested, and tiny white shacks – suspected being cocaine laboratories – are easy to spot.

Colombian helicopters are not allowed to fly closer to five miles to the actual border of Venezuela, and stay above 2,300 feet to prevent dangerous gun fire of drug traffickers below. The CNN helicopter flew down dropping leaflets in the villages below, encouraging local residents to respect the environment in which they live, an oblique code to restore their drug trade returns.

Within Venezuela, drugs are entered through military checkpoints and escort or annoyed by the army, indicating US and regional officials and certain defectors of the Venezuelan army.

A defector from a patrol on the Venezuelan border told CNN that his job was sometimes to pick trucks that trafficker had crashed fast. He said that this happened as soon as three times a week, during the five-year period he served in the border region.

"Draws on food handouts"

"Cars that cross both weapons and drugs are pick-ups (trucks)," the CNN defector said, his identity and location for fear of revenge. "We will tell the color and make the truck, and when (to come) – usually after dawn or dusk."

Speaking in hiding his family in Colombia, he said his senior officers were giving accurate instructions. "Everything is combined by the commander of the brigade, he will send a lieutenant to tell you what's going to cross, and it's arranged above. The disagreements are changed … Automatically. "

the defector described how the tensions were mounted during the first months of 2019, while the struggle of power between Guaido and Maduro climbed within its boundary region. His unit was almost confined to the barracks, but was permitted to continue the contraband of the important border.

"We were locked in the base" when not duty, he said. "Generally speaking: & # 39; Everyone should come with us. Leave, or speak against the government – you get arrested. & # 39;

"We talked to food handouts," he added, referring to subsidized food boxes that help state employees deal with the harmful effects of hyperinflation on family food purchases.

"One night, I can not take it, I went to the house, and told my wife, 'We left for Colombia!'" My son started crying and the boy said: & # 39; What do we do? & # 39; But I know if they stay with me that they are caught or asked. "He and his family fled across the border at 3 am, using a The route he noticed was moving smoothly.

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