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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
So far in 2013, Venezuela’s National Anti-Drug Office (ONA) has seized a total of four tons (4,000 kilos) of illegal drugs in various security operations carried out around the country.
This information was made known on February 15 by the deputy director of the ONA, Edylberto Molina, in a press release from the agency, which stated that in 2013 there have been 577 anti-drug operations performed by various state security agencies, resulting in the arrests of 714 individuals (25 foreigners and 689 Venezuelans).
Highlights include the seizure of one ton of cocaine on February 8 in the state of Apure, and nearly half a ton of marijuana on February 14 in the state of Lara.
In Apure, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) found the cocaine aboard a small plane travelling without a permit and with a false registration. The FANB used its anti-drug air command to find the plane.
Meanwhile, the drug seizure in Lara was carried out by Unit 47 of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), which found 433 kilos of marijuana hidden in a truck during a routine search at a military checkpoint.
Since 2006, in the years since Venezuela suspended agreements with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the government’s sovereign anti-drug policies have resulted in the seizure of 247.27 tons of cocaine.
Moreover, since Hugo Chávez was first elected president, the government has seized a total of 671.86 tons of different drugs.
In 2005, the ONA seized a record 77.53 tons of drugs, and for the next six consecutive years it achieved seizures of over 50 tons per year, capturing 60.67 tons in 2006, 57.50 tons in 2007, 54.61 tons in 2008, and 60.56 tons in 2009. In 2010, security agencies captured a total of 63.83 tons.
In 2012, Venezuelan authorities managed to seize 45.08 tons, almost three tons more than in 2011 (42.41 tons).
A report published by ONA late last year indicates that the total included 27.11 tons of cocaine (60% of the total amount of illegal drugs captured), 17.84 tons of marijuana (39.5%), followed by very slight amounts of heroin and crack cocaine.
In regard to micro-trafficking, Venezuelan authorities seized a total of 6.54 million doses of drugs during 2012 in 7,403 operations, resulting in 9,692 arrests (including 220 foreigners).
A Comprehensive Fight against Drug Trafficking
For seven years in a row, the United Nations has certified Venezuela as a territory free of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances.
Another important achievement in the fight against drugs in Venezuela has been the capture of 95 drug lords since 2006, 20 of which were detained in 2012, including Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco Barrera”, one of the world’s most wanted drug lords.
Of the 95 drug lords captured, 72 were deported to other countries, including 33 to Colombia, 21 to the United States, and four to Germany. Meanwhile, 23 remained in Venezuela, where 12 have already been tried and 11 more are currently facing criminal proceedings.
The national government has also seized the assets of drug traffickers, including than 2,000 items, many of which have been recovered and used to provide treatment to people with addictions, services offered by the Venezuelan state for free.
In 2011, for example, 916 seized goods with an approximate value of $111 million, while goods seized in 2012 were worth bolivars, while 1556 were recovered in 2012 from drug trafficking goods with a value of $114 million.
Venezuela currently has anti-drug agreements with 39 countries, and more drug incineration facilities than any other nation, with a total of 10 centers located in Guárico, Falcón, Vargas, Zulia, Anzoátegui , Nueva Esparta, Carabobo, Táchira, Lara and Mérida.
AVN / Press-Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / February 15, 2013