An unprecedented attack that killed a general is an ominous sign of growing criminal power in Venezuela

Business Insider | 4/15/2015 | InSight Crime
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A Venezuelan air force general and five other security officers were killed in an ambush during a patrol in northern Venezuela in early May.

The attack is believed to have been carried out by a "mega-gang," and while the motive is not clear the killings point to the growing power and impunity these criminal groups have in the country.

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The recent murders of an air force general and five other security officials in Venezuela, believed to have been carried out by a mega-gang, confirms the growing impunity these criminal groups enjoy and the control they exercise in a key central state.

May - Army - Police - Patrol - Area

Early on May 4, an army and police patrol was ambushed in a mountainous area of the northern state of Aragua. Three soldiers and two police officers were killed, alongside Air Force Brigadier General Alexis Silva Zapata, reported El Pitazo.

The official version of events says the patrol was responding to a call for reinforcements issued by troops at a nearby estate owned by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana — FANB). The farm is located in Magdaleno, only six kilometers from the infamous Tocorón prison.

Head - Venezuela - Investigation - Unit - Cuerpo

The head of Venezuela's criminal investigation unit (Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas — CICPC), Douglas Rico, announced that members of a mega-gang (a criminal organization with over 100 men) operating from the Tocorón prison were to blame for the ambush.

Speaking at a press conference, Rico said that the attackers had been well-armed with AK-47 automatic rifles. He added that the killers stole the patrol's weapons, which were missing from the scene.

Sources - InSight - Crime - Members - Gang

Sources consulted by InSight Crime said that two members of a criminal gang known as "El Tren de Aragua," identified only as "Bola" and "Wilmer Guayabal," had planned the attack. Following the ambush, they took refuge inside Tocorón...
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