Venezuela arrests more than 12,000 for drug crimes

CARACAS Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:57pm EST

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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela has detained 12,376 people for drug-related crimes this year, about 40 percent more than in 2009, as the South American nation continues to be a major shipment route, authorities said on Monday.

Venezuela's government says the figures show the success of its anti-narcotics policy. But the figures also illustrate that Venezuela remains an important route for drugs -- mainly from Colombia -- to reach consumers in Europe and the United States.

"The security forces' success against illegal drug trafficking proves the contribution Venezuela is making in the fight against this global curse," state news agency AVN said.

This year's number of arrests, up to mid-December, compared with 8,741 throughout 2009, the National Drugs Office said.

Some 24.6 tonnes of cocaine were confiscated this year, down from 27.7 tonnes in 2009. But the amount of marijuana confiscated rose to 38.4 tonnes from 32.6 tonnes last year.

Cocaine and marijuana account for nearly all the drugs found.

Accused by critics of leniency in the drug fight and of collusion with Colombian rebels who depend on smuggling for financing, President Hugo Chavez's government counters that it has stepped up interdiction notably in recent years.

The socialist leader, who is Washington's fiercest critic in the region, stopped cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in 2005 amid bilateral tensions.

(Reporting by Diego Ore and Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (19)
RckyMtns wrote:
At least the megalomaniac Chavez is doing something right.
Now why can’t the failed state of mexico with all of its crooked police forces and corrupt military follow this example.
You never ever hear about large amounts of people being arrested in the taco state of nothing.
Man, talk about a failed president calderon and his failed corrupt military.
Wake up Calderon and get your crooked head out of your butt.

Dec 27, 2010 3:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
waltinseattle wrote:
actually, Rocky, I expect this is a shinning example of a public face good reason for a privately nasty agenda. The arrests could be excuses to eradicate the opposition. This would be in line with other deeds the peoples hero has pulled.

Dec 27, 2010 4:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Quico wrote:
Has anyone noticed that in EVERY Reuters article about Chavez, they include this sentence, verbatim? “The socialist leader, who is Washington’s fiercest critic in the region,…” In other words, the most important descriptor they have for Chavez is that he is “a critic” of Washington, when in fact he is much more and much worse than that. Why haven’t the Reuter’s people noticed that Chavez is the same guy that was caught smuggling money into Argentia to influence elections, has been accused by many L.A. presidents of interfeering in their elections, has been shown to have close ties and even provide material support to the FARC, but no, what they repeatedly say is “he’s a critic of Washington.” Reuter’s reporters are clueless.

Dec 27, 2010 5:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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