Mérida, October 8, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– This Monday the Metropolitan Police of Caracas (PM) discovered and dismantled a secret bullet factory in an important step in the struggle against organized crime, according to the Minister for the Interior, Tarek El Aissami.
El Aissami called it "perhaps one of the biggest [blows against organised crime] in the last 20 years," while speaking at an event that marked the start of a course taken by 620 future police agents of the PM, in the School of Formation of Police Agents.
20,000 munitions were also captured in the raid.
El Aissami explained that the operation by officials appointed by the head of investigations of the PM, formed part of the disarming policies that his ministry has been coordinating as part of the "Safe Caracas 2008" operation.
One person was detained and El Aissami explained that the task now is to identify other people and organizations involved in or linked to the factory and also to find the providers of the gunpowder, lead, and other material used to manufacture the confiscated ammunition.
He said that the authorities are advancing towards discovering the location of machines and supplies of gunpowder and fuses that would make it possible to manufacture two thousand bullets of different calibres, daily.
Wilmer Flores, the general director of the PM, said, "We are making inquiries to determine whom the bullets are sold to and what the sale process is."
Flores further explained that the bullets were being sold indiscriminately in the barrios (poorer suburbs) and would have ended up in the fire arms that have caused so much damage to the population.
He said the raid took place in the sector Maca de Petare, Municipality of Sucre, Caracas, and was the result of more than two months of investigations and monitoring.
Police Abuse of Suspects
El Aissami also touched on the topic of Freddy Rojas, the member of the permanent commission of interior policy of the National Assembly who was detained last Sunday in the municipality of Libertador by officials of the Police of Chacao (a separate jurisdiction) and mistreated by them.
"We are waiting for the forensic report that will explain any mistreatment that the representative was subject to. This report will result in judicial and administrative proceedings against those responsible…we want to reiterate that, regardless of being a police body, no one has the right to torture anybody, [such behaviour] is prohibited in this country."
Police Rewards and Incentives
At the event decorations and recognition were handed out to various officers, including those who participated in the discovery of the bullet making machinery, some whom were involved in the seizure of 1,000 blocks of marijuana last Friday in Cota Mil, Caracas, and others who assisted with the confiscation of a missile that according to the investigations, was linked to the coup plan discovered recently by Venezuelan intelligence organizations.
Thirty-five police officers who were decorated at the event were also awarded a trip to Margarita Island (a popular Venezuelan tourist resort) with their family as part of a program of incentives towards police efficiency and performance.
Other incentives include promotions and bonuses.
El Aissami explained that such incentives are for "the best police practice, [for those] who always carry out [their duties] in the framework of the law."
The course, which the 620 agents (of which 60% have degrees, 90 are women and 530 are men) are starting, will go until December, where a similar number of new applicants will begin it, later entering the University Institute of the Metropolitan Police.
The three-month course is an intense version of a one-year course, and all those enrolled are youths between the ages of 18 and 25 years who had to go through a range of evaluations before they were selected.
120 extra agents will be incorporated into the operation ‘Safe Caracas 2008'.