Cartel de los Soles News

US Sanctions Against Venezuela VP Hit Highest Government Rank Yet

US Sanctions Against Venezuela VP Hit Highest Government Rank Yet

The decision by the United States to sanction Tareck El Aissami, the recently-appointed vice president of Venezuela, for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking makes him the highest-ranking official in President Nicolás Maduro's government to be accused of such crimes. 

Cartel de los Soles Profile

Cartel of the Suns

Cartel of the Suns

The term "Cartel of the Suns" (Cartel de los Soles) is used to describe shadowy groups inside Venezuela's military that traffic cocaine. It is in some ways a misleading term, as it creates the impression that there is a hierarchical group, made up primarily of military officials, that sets the price of cocaine inside the country. There are cells within the main branches of the military -- the army, navy, air force, and National Guard, from the lowest to the highest levels -- that essentially function as drug trafficking organizations. However, describing them as a "cartel" in the traditional sense would be a leap. It is not clear how the relationship between these cells works, although rivalries between them have apparently turned deadly in the past.

More Cartel de los Soles News

  • Venezuela Soldiers Arrested For 'Biggest Ever' French Drug Bust

    Venezuela has arrested three National Guard members after more than a ton of cocaine was discovered on an Air France flight traveling from Caracas to Paris, evidence that the military is still involved in major drug trafficking.

  • Ex-Venezuela Army Captain Added to US Kingpin List

    The US Treasury Department has added a former Venezuelan army captain to its list of Specially Designated Drug Traffickers, further proof of the importance of the Venezuelan military to international drug trafficking.

  • Venezuela to Use Military to Fight Crime

    Venezuela will deploy the military to fight crime, a move that will likely increase concerns over the depth of corruption in the armed forces and the possibility that human rights could be compromised in the name of citizen security. 

  • Chavez's Legacy: An Explosion of Violence and Drug Trafficking

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose death from cancer was announced this week, leaves behind a slew of half-started security initiatives, but overall his government proved woefully incapable of tackling violence and organized crime.

  • Political Uncertainty in Venezuela Feeds Crime and Violence

    The rumors of President Hugo Chavez's imminent death, and the jostling for position among his possible successors, are creating conditions in which crime and violence are flourishing and likely to do so through 2013.

  • Venezuela with more than 21,600 murders in 2012: NGO

    According to calculations made by a respected NGO, Venezuela is now far and away the most dangerous country in South America, with Caracas one of the most dangerous capitals in the world.

  • Venezuela Replaces Defense Minister Accused of Drug Ties

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has replaced General Henry Rangel Silva as head of the Defense Ministry, which could indicate that Chavez is seeking to distance himself from the general, who has been accused of supporting the FARC's drug trafficking activities.

  • With Chavez Win, Venezuelan Gangs Could Expand

    Hugo Chavez's victory in the presidential elections will give Venezuela's organized criminal syndicates another six years to grow and consolidate their power, in South America's most important transit nation for cocaine going to the US and Europe.

  • Cartel of the Suns

    The term "Cartel of the Suns" (Cartel de los Soles) is used to describe shadowy groups inside Venezuela's military that traffic cocaine. It is in some ways a misleading term, as it creates the impression that there is a hierarchical group, made up primarily of military officials, that sets the price of cocaine inside the country. There are cells within the main branches of the military -- the army, navy, air force, and National Guard, from the lowest to the highest levels -- that essentially function as drug trafficking organizations. However, describing them as a "cartel" in the traditional sense would be a leap. It is not clear how the relationship between these cells works, although rivalries between them have apparently turned deadly in the past.

  • Cartel of the Suns

    Sun insignia worn by Venezuelan generals

    The term "Cartel of the Suns" (Cartel de los Soles) is used to describe shadowy groups inside Venezuela's military that traffic cocaine. It is in some ways a misleading term, as it creates the impression that there is a hierarchical group, made up primarily of military officials, that sets the price of cocaine inside the country. There are cells within the main branches of the military -- the army, navy, air force, and National Guard, from the lowest to the highest levels -- that essentially function as drug trafficking organizations. However, describing them as a "cartel" in the traditional sense would be a leap. It is not clear how the relationship between these cells works, although rivalries between them have apparently turned deadly in the past.

Investigations

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The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Guatemala's Mafia State and the Case of Mauricio López Bonilla

Former Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla -- a decorated war hero and a longtime US ally -- finds himself treading water amidst a flurry of accusations about corruption and his connections to drug traffickers. López Bonilla is not the most well-known suspect in the cases against...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...