Venezuela Deports Major Illegal Drug Figures
Venezuela is hoping recent deportations will thin out its drug trafficking population. The country deported major drug traffickers to the United States and France, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Helicopters escorted suspected Colombian drug kingpin Salomon Camacho Mora, French smuggling suspect Jean Marie Bonnamy and alleged Colombian paramilitary member Oscar Ospino to secret police headquarters where they were ferried to the nation’s main airport for deportation. Mora was sent to the U.S., while the other two were destined for France.
The U.S. has recently criticized Venezuela for failing to reduce the flow of cocaine through its territory. The deportations are being hailed by Judge Minister Tareck El Aissami as evidence that President Hugo Chavez's administration is effectively fighting drug trafficking.
"It demonstrates the efficiency and firm commitment of our government and its institutions in the battle against crime," El Aissami said in the Post.
Mora, also known as Big Papa, is suspected as being responsible for sending as much as 10 tons of Colombian cocaine to the U.S. between 1999 and 2000, according to the U.S. State Department.
Bonnamy has been wanted in France for allegedly smuggling multi-ton shipments of cocaine to Europe. He was arrested by Venezuela a day before French authorities seized a 2,123-pound cocaine shipment off the Caribbean island of Saint Martin.
Ospino is accused of being a member of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, an outlawed group formed in the 1980s to defend wealthy ranchers from leftist guerillas. This force quickly turned into one of Colombia’s biggest drug trafficking organizations.