No Longer Coke-FedEx, Now More Like Coke-Amazon

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There’s plenty to chew over in news of the looming U.S. indictment of Néstor Reverol, the National Guard commander and alleged coke-trafficking aficionado.

The latest story, in The New York Times, describes how twice-deported Venezuelan insiders (first deported to Colombia, then once more to the U.S.) seem to have been the key conduits of evidence against him.

But the choice bit is at the very end:

Mr. McDermott, of InSight Crime, said that American prosecutors may be focusing more intensely on Venezuela because drug trafficking there has changed.

For many years, investigators believed that Venezuelan military and police officers were on Colombian traffickers’ payrolls, providing them information about investigations and protection for drug shipments.

“There has been a change in the nature of the role of the Venezuelans,” he said. “They have moved from facilitators to drug traffickers in their own right.” He added, “Nowadays we believe the Venezuelans are buying and selling their own shipments.”

He also said that a boom over the last year in Colombia in the planting of coca, the plant used to make cocaine, would likely lead to a surge in the amount of the drug moving through Venezuela.

This is hugely significant. For much of the past decade, the term “Cartel de los Soles” has been a bit of a misnomer. The Venezuelan military – people who follow these things believed – would take payments for protecting northbound coke shipments that belonged to someone else. That made them not so much drug-traffickers as service providers to drug-traffickers.

If McDermott is right, though, and guys like Reverol are now trafficking coke they own, that’s an entirely different level of involvement. A different level of profits. And a different kind of criminality. Which would account, in great part, for the investigative resources the U.S. is now clearly devoting to these guys.

16 COMMENTS

  1. This is quite explained on the movie Elite Squad 2… Instead of receiving money for looking the other way or blowing the whistle for any investigations, be the one doing the operation and make the big wins…

  2. If they new history the would know:

    -Escobar, who was so powerful to challenge the Colombian state is dead.
    -Noriega, who challenged the US directly, machete wielding, is still in jail.
    -Bin Laden go a bullet through his eye.
    -Fidel and the embargo lasted, 50+ YEARS!!!
    -Saddam, shooting over the square hung by his neck.

    Gringos have a LONG memory and a LONG arm.

    So either Chavistas don’t know history or were so full of themselves and think of themselves untouchable.

    • Military involved in drug trafficking is old. Yes, it has escalated but what we are seeing is a normal business development model. It gets a lot easier than you may think because a Venezuelan military in the drug trafficking business is the best partner you will ever have:

      – They can exert legal violence in the name of territorial sovereignty but it can just be diverted to protect the drug business
      – They have political influence in the legal system where impunity is into a whole new level
      – They get cash to buy promotions thus more power and more volume of protected business (I bet you did not see that coming)
      – The money from customs and armament purchases has dried up
      – Their “legal” promotions and power yield has been diluted due to the expansion of high rank population. Oh it just occurred to me that perhaps the expansion of high ranks may be fuelled in part by drug money.
      – The moral fiber is just gone with all the corruption they have seen in the government
      – Some may even get extorted to be in the drug dealing by some assertive bully high in the government (rings a bell?)
      – Money buys a lot more stuff in Venezuela nowadays. That includes personal integrity where a high ranked General income is mere 35,000 bolos or $40 dola per month.

      As per Wikipedia, Pablo Escobar net worth was something between $30-$100 Billion in 1993.

      Well that is A LOT of bolivars at Dolar Today exchange rate…

      As the Joker said: Let’s see how loyal a hungry dog really is!

      • Lo que no contaban es que es muy diferente contrabandear gasolina, alimentos y alcohol, que traficar con drogas.
        Eso afecta la moral del Capitán, Teniente o soldado raso cuando se ve obligado a hacer algo que le crea un cargo de conciencia alto.

  3. Reverol: The mastermind of the Cartel.

    Married to Carolina, 2do Sec in the Vzlan Consulate in DC and the sister of Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez, MinRel Interiores.
    When her brother, who was in the Obama’s list of the 7 sanctioned for HR abuse, she flees US and moved to another Consulate in Spain (a small one and lost in the countryside).
    She got divorced and that speak a lot about who really is Reverol. Or en que esta metido.

  4. It’s no longer about drug trafficking. Cocaine, laundering, corruption and a few other steps are now the integral components of financing terrorism and its operations worldwide. Venezuela is a key location. DEA ? Nah, this is a whole new ballgame much bigger than drugs in Haiti or wherever.
    Venezuela a narco state ? Maybe but to some it’s the first call for the budding terrorist.
    Like it or not negotiating, as suggested in umpteen superficial previous articles, is off the agenda.
    You don’t negotiate with terrorists ! Now where have I heard that before ?

  5. I honestly cant believe this is true, the same with Diosdado’s been under the same line of business. You have to be very very very stupid to go after drug trafficking when you have CADIVI a 6.3 at your entire disposition, no questions asked when you submit an inquire for divisas. It is completely legal, profits are even better than doing drugs, and you are not bothering anyone around the world.
    They cant be that stupid, I insist

    • Pepe, lo mismo decia yo. Why send coke to the US and stash your assets in US dollars? They are that fucking dumb. Yes, they the top cartel in the world. Quico, you are really behind the ball or your play dumb. Old stories here. 350 tons of coke next year. Do the math. Why do you think the nephews where in Haiti? They triple their profits. BTW, the nephews are not singing for now but the crybaby is cracking and may sing. SPB was not going to do Efrain any good. Wrong attorneys for the gig but when the plan is ‘not guilty’ then public defender for appearances. They cannot plead guilty for that also means guilty for the family. They are so scared (20-30) that they decided to chance it. In the US, conventional wisdom is avoid trial and cut deal. The days of code of silence long over. These boys suprised but not for long.

    • the regime has its plausible deniability and spin machine por ahora. If the boys cut a deal meaning they cooperate with the DA, they will reduce their prison sentences. My question is, how deep does this blood flow? Cooperating with the DA is opening the door to hell and these boys are too high up in the organization for that. However, time and incarceration can change all that. If the boys feel neglected and alone, they will reconsider shaving a decade off their prison sentences. Key is who was in the courtroom.

    • One of the most interesting things about criminals and thugs is how stupid they can be. Their downfall is usually hubris and the resulting carelessness. So, I can’t say I am shocked. And remember… for a long time, the Cadivi scam hasn’t been paying as much as it used to. There just isn’t enough dollars to go around.

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