Authorities in Venezuela stumbled upon what they have said was the largest drug bust in a decade.
On Monday this week, lawmen in the South American country seized a vessel carrying marijuana and cocaine amounting to millions of dollars. The well-packed boat was intercepted off the Caribbean coast.
On that vessel, 3.1 US tonnes (2.8 metric tonnes) of marijuana, almost 18 pounds (8 kg) of cocaine and extra outboard boat motors were found.
The general commander of the Operational Strategic Command of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces Domingo Hernández, said the vessel had departed Colombia and was en route to the island of Martinique.
“Twelve men traveling on the boat were arrested. Hernández said all are Venezuelans and were working for the Colombia-based Cartel of the Guajira. Nearly 6,293 pounds (2,857 kilos) of marijuana were seized from the boat, which lacked identification and had seven extra motors as well as 33 large storage containers with fuel and a satellite phone,” General Hernandez said.
According to law enforcement officials in Venezuela, the arrests and seizures were part of special operations of the armed forces across Venezuela’s border.
Soldiers in the area have also seized makeshift buildings that store the fuel for airplanes used by drug traffickers who land on nearby illegal runways. Since 2012, we saw, that this is the most important stash of marijuana, and also, since 2012, we have disabled 305 airplanes, 27 (of them) this year with a lot of intelligence and prevention against micro trafficking and macro trafficking because this is another exponential sum as well,” Hernández said.
Additionally, Hernández said more than 40.2 US tonnes (36.5 metric tonnes) of illegal drugs have been seized so far this year in Venezuela. That’s up 29.2 percent compared to the same period last year.