Venezuela: Armed forces make biggest pot meltdown in a decade

TIRAYA, Venezuela — Venezuela’s armed forces on Monday announced what they called the largest marijuana seizure in the South American country in 10 years.

Members of the armed forces on Saturday intercepted a vessel carrying more than 3.1 US tons (2.8 metric tons) of marijuana, nearly 18 pounds (8 kg) of cocaine and additional outboard motors off the coast Venezuelan Caribbean, said General Domingo Hernández, Commanding General of the Strategic Operational Command of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. He added that the ship had left Colombia and was on its way to the island of Martinique.

Twelve men traveling on the boat were arrested. Hernández said all of them were Venezuelans and worked for the Colombian La Guajira cartel.

Nearly 6,293 pounds (2,857 kilograms) of marijuana were seized from the boat, which lacked identification and had seven additional engines as well as 33 large storage containers with fuel and a satellite phone.

The arrests and seizure were part of special operations by the armed forces across the Venezuelan border. Soldiers in the area have also seized makeshift buildings that store fuel for planes used by drug traffickers that land on illegal runways nearby.

“Since 2012, we have seen, it is the most important reserve of marijuana, and also, since 2012, we have disabled 305 planes, 27 (of them) this year with a lot of intelligence and prevention against micro traffic and macro traffic because that is also another exponential sum,” Hernández said.

Hernández and his team showed reporters Monday the medicine, fuel tanks and boat at a beachfront campsite in the community of Tiraya set up for the region’s special operation. Two large helicopters, military vehicles, tents and dozens of armed soldiers were also at the site.

Hernández said more than 40.2 US tons (36.5 metric tons) of illegal drugs have been seized so far this year in Venezuela. This is an increase of 29.2% compared to the same period last year.

ABC News

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