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Los Roques: How Venezuela Is Using Aruba, Bonaire And Curacao to Smuggle Its Gold.

The Los Roques archipelago, a group of islands off the north coast of Venezuela, famous for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, has become the base of operations for the transfer of gold and drugs to the Caribbean, InSight Crime details a note published on its website.(BELOW)

InSight Crime notes that on October 29, José Luis Pirela, president of the National Anti-Drug, Anti-Terrorism and Organized Crime Subcommittee denounced that an organized crime group operates from Los Roques, a national park and tourist destination located opposite to the coast of Vargas. The group uses mostly uninhabited islets for the transfer of narcotics and gold to Caribbean countries, mainly to Bonaire.

“In his presentation to the AN, Pirela said that ‘part of the band is formed by Carlos Betancourt and Noel Lugo, whom he identified as Stella Lugo Betancourt’s cousin and brother,” said the deputy to the National Assembly. Since 2017, Lugo Betancourt is head of government of the Francisco de Miranda Island Territory, jurisdiction of Los Roques. Between 2008 and 2017, she was governor of Falcón, a state located very close to Los Roques and the Dutch Caribbean islands. ”

Pirela said the band was acting in alliance with an Italian businessman, owner of bars and hotels in Los Roques, and with the Venezuelan José Ramón Llavanera, allegedly convicted of drug trafficking in the United States, says InSight Crime.

“Llavanera offers its links and links in the intermediation of drug trafficking between Los Roques and Bonaire. They use their own airplanes, King 200 models, whose acronyms we will provide to international organizations to carry out the corresponding investigations, ”said parliamentarian Pirela.

Pirela said he planned to meet with the governor of Bonaire, Edison Enrique Rijna, to exchange information about the group’s modus operandi.

The use of Los Roques as an exit point for drugs from Venezuela is logical, since the archipelago is only 176 kilometers from Caracas, that is, 30 minutes by plane from the capital, and 167 kilometers from Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles, analyzes the research unit in Venezuela.

“The Dutch Caribbean islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, are increasingly being used for smuggling of gold and the transfer of cocaine from Colombia that passes through Venezuela. For example, a tugboat registered in the name of a Venezuelan firm was recently confiscated in front of the island of Aruba after two tons of cocaine were found on board, ”he says.

And after the wreck of several migrants traveling in the direction of Curacao, it was known that local gangs would be using migrant transports to cover up cocaine shipments.

The island nations, with links to the Netherlands, have been increasingly used for drug smuggling into Europe. They have also historically served as a stopover for narcotics on their route to the United States.

“Los Roques had already drawn attention before. In September 2019, the Venezuelan Ecological Society (EVS) denounced the government of Nicolás Maduro for the delivery of illegal concessions for infrastructure projects in the archipelago. The EVS made the complaint after the Ministry of Tourism offered to national and foreign investors the opportunity to build “high-level tourist accommodation” in Los Roques, overcoming Venezuelan regulations that prohibit new construction within national parks. “He adds.
If the accusations of Pirela prove true, it could mean that foreign-run hotels in the region could be used to facilitate drug trafficking in the Caribbean.

INSIGHT CRIME:

The Los Roques archipelago, a group of islands off the north coast of Venezuela, famous for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, has become the base of operations for the transfer of gold and drugs to the Caribbean.

On October 29, José Luis Pirela, president of the Subcommission on Anti-Drug, Anti-Terrorism and Organized Crime of the National Assembly (AN) of Venezuela, denounced that an organized crime group operates from Los Roques, a national park and tourist destination located off the coast of the Venezuelan state of Vargas. The group uses mostly uninhabited islets for the transfer of narcotics and gold to Caribbean countries, mainly to Bonaire.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profile

In his presentation to the AN, Pirela said that “part of the band is formed by Carlos Betancourt and Noel Lugo, whom he identified as Stella Lugo Betancourt’s cousin and brother,” said the deputy to the National Assembly (AN). Since 2017, Lugo Betancourt is head of government of the Francisco de Miranda Island Territory, jurisdiction of Los Roques. Between 2008 and 2017, she was governor of Falcón, a state located very close to Los Roques and the Dutch Caribbean islands.

Pirela said that the band was acting in alliance with an Italian businessman, owner of bars and hotels in Los Roques, and with the Venezuelan José Ramón Llavanera, allegedly convicted of drug trafficking in the United States.

“Llavanera offers its links and links in the intermediation of drug trafficking between Los Roques and Bonaire. They use their own airplanes, King 200 models, whose acronyms we will provide to international organizations to carry out the corresponding investigations, ”said parliamentarian Pirela.

Pirela said he planned to meet with the governor of Bonaire, Edison Enrique Rijna, to exchange information about the group’s modus operandi.

InSight Crime Analysis

The use of Los Roques as an exit point for drugs from Venezuela is logical, since the archipelago is only 176 kilometers from Caracas, that is, 30 minutes by plane from the capital, and 167 kilometers from Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles.

The Dutch Caribbean islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, are increasingly being used for smuggling gold and the transfer of cocaine from Colombia that passes through Venezuela. For example, a tugboat registered in the name of a Venezuelan firm was recently confiscated off the island of Aruba after two tons of cocaine were found on board.

And after the wreck of several migrants traveling in the direction of Curacao, it was known that local gangs would be using migrant transports to cover upcocaine shipments.

The island nations, with links to the Netherlands, have been increasingly used for drug smuggling into Europe. They have also historically served as a stopover for narcotics on their route to the United States.

SEE ALSO: Southern Venezuela, the ‘gold mine’ of organized crime in South America

Los Roques had already drawn attention before. In September 2019, the Venezuelan Ecological Society (EVS) denounced the government of Nicolás Maduro for the delivery of illegal concessions for infrastructure projects in the archipelago. The EVS made the complaint after the Ministry of Tourism offered to national and foreign investors the opportunity to build “high-level tourist accommodation” in Los Roques, overcoming Venezuelan regulations that prohibit new construction within national parks. .

If the accusations of Pirela prove true, it could mean that foreign-run hotels in the region could be used to facilitate drug trafficking in the Caribbean.

https://es.insightcrime.org/noticias/noticias-del-dia/archipielago-de-venezuela-nueva-plataforma-para-el-trafico-de-drogas/

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