Cartel de los Soles News

US Sanctions on Venezuela President Promise Zero Impact, Experts Say

US Sanctions on Venezuela President Promise Zero Impact, Experts Say

The rare move by the United States to place economic sanctions on Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro will do little to reduce criminality within his regime and across his beleaguered country. The question is whether matters could get worse in criminal terms.

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

  • Political Uncertainty in Venezuela Feeds Crime and Violence

    President Hugo Chavez is suffering from cancer

    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.

  • Mexican Drug Boss Implicates Venezuelan Generals in Cocaine Ring

    A captured leader of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) has accused Venezuelan generals of complicity in an international cocaine trafficking network that sent drug flights to Mexico, in the latest evidence of criminal ties in Venezuela's military.

  • 'Blame Game' Fails to Explain Why Venezuela is Cocaine Hub

    Venezuelans like to blame Colombia for their problems with organized crime while Colombians say that Venezuela has its own powerful drug trafficking organizations working closely with members of the country's security forces. Both statements seem to be true.

  • Trial of Venezuelan Kingpin Makled Begins Behind Closed Doors

    The trial of Walid Makled, a drug kingpin who claims that he worked with Venezuela's political and military elite, has started in a closed courtroom in Caracas, fuelling concerns he may be silenced by the authorities.

  • Is Venezuelan Military Stepping Up Role in Drug Trafficking?

    Allegations that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez knew of drug trafficking charges against his new defense minister not only suggest institutional corruption in the security forces, but that the president is unwilling, or unable, to take action.

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InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.