Venezuela Seizes Two Tons of Cocaine and Launches Community Anti-Drug Education

The Venezuelan National Guard seized 1,981 kilograms of cocaine in Miranda state on Saturday and 830 kilograms of marijuana in Trujillo state on Sunday, according to the director of Venezuela's National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), Nestor Reverol.

By James Suggett – Venezuelanalysis.com
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Mérida, May 14th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- The Venezuelan National Guard seized 1,981 kilograms of cocaine in Miranda state on Saturday and 830 kilograms of marijuana in Trujillo state on Sunday, according to the director of Venezuela's National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), Nestor Reverol.

In addition to seizing the cocaine and the boat in which it was to be shipped abroad, the authorities arrested a Colombian and two Venezuelans who allegedly were managing the operation.

National investigators from the Criminal, Penal, and Scientific Investigations Agency (CICPC) are tracking the broader network of drug traffickers involved in the Saturday's shipment.

The National Guard seized the marijuana from a hatchback truck at a routine highway checkpoint on Sunday.

Reverol said the seizures were "another heavy blow against the international drug industry," which "ratify the commitment of the Venezuelan state in its head-on fight against illicit drug trafficking."

Venezuela has interdicted 18,488 kilograms of drugs and arrested more than 2000 people in its anti-drug trafficking efforts so far this year, Reverol said. He emphasized that Venezuela is not a producer of narcotics, while neighboring Colombia is.

On Wednesday, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El-Aissami announced a joint initiative with the Education Ministry and the ONA to train 4,300 community anti-drug educators to work with youth in the nation's 335 municipalities.

"By better educating our children and youth with social and spiritual values, we will have a higher probability of success in the struggle against the consumption of illegal and legal drugs in Venezuela," said El-Aissami. He added that the training will begin on May 19th.

Anti-drug efforts are a point of political tension between Venezuela and the United States. The U.S. accuses Venezuela of not cooperating with its so-called "war on drugs," and has placed Venezuela on its list of countries through which illegal drugs have been transported since 2005. In 2005 Venezuela cut off relations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency on suspicion that its agents were spying. Venezuela accuses the U.S. of using such lists as an arbitrary political tool to punish countries which deviate from its international economic aspirations.