Between 625 to 1,970 kidnappings took place in Venezuela in 2012, according to risk consultancy group Control Risks.
The Venezuelan Government does not keep official statistics on the number of kidnappings, but did report that security officials facilitated the safe return of 413 hostages in 2012.
Source: Corina Pons & Randall Woods, “Venezuelan Ransom Funds Hedge Against Kidnaps as Vote Looms,” Bloomberg, April 11, 2013.
Security officials in Venezuela announced that over 45 tons of illegal drugs was seized in the country in 2012. Over 60 percent of the illicit drugs were cocaine, with 27.17 tons of cocaine being seized by police. The remainder of the drugs were mostly marijuana seizures.
In addition to the durgs, authorities in Venezuela arrest 20 major drug traffickers. Between 2006 and 2012, police reported that it has arrested 95 major traffickers in Venezuela.
36 clandestine landing strips and 18 planes that were used for transporting narcotics were also seized by police in 2012.
Source: Edward Fox, “Venezuela Narcotics Seizures Up in 2012,” Insight Crime, December 21, 2012.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy estimated that in 2010, over 200 tons of South American cocaine was trafficked through Venezuela on its way to the global markets. The cocaine represented 24 percent of all cocaine shipments from South America.
Up to 40 percent of the cocaine trafficked to Europe is believed to have traveled through Venezuela.
US Officials believe that corruption in Venezuela leads to ties between the county and FARC guerrillas, who control the cocaine industry in the region.
Source: William Neuman, “Cocaine’s Flow Is Unchecked in Venezuela,” New York Times, July 26, 2012.
According to the National Statistics Institute, there were an estimated 17,000 kidnappings in Venezuela between July 2008 and July 2009. A majority of the kidnap and ransom cases appeared to be “express kidnappings,” where a person is held hostage for a day and released with a ransom payment quickly.
Source: Michael S. Schmidt and Simon Romero, “In Nation Plagued by Abductions, Search Is On,” New York Times, November 10, 2011.
A gas smuggler in Venezuela can earn at 4,000 percent profit on a single trip when smuggling subsidized petrol from Venezuela over the border into Colombia.
A gas smuggler can buy 50 liters of gasoline for $1 in Venezuela and sell it for $40 across the border in Colombia.
Source: Girish Gupta, “World’s lowest gas prices fuel Andean smuggling,” Reuters Africa, June 10, 2011.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) identified 6 countries that engage in illegal fishing. Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Panama, Portugal and Venezuela were all found to be committing unauthorized activities when it comes to fishing. Illegal fishing activities included fishing during closed sessions, using illegal driftnet, and fishing without proper authorization.
Source: Morgan Erikson-Davis, “Italy and Panama continue illegal fishing, says new report,” Mongabay.com, January 15, 2011.
Half of all ships seized for drug trafficking in the Atlantic Ocean departed from Venezuela and was filled with cocaine headed towards Europe. Only 5 percent of ships trafficking cocaine were found to have departed from Colombia.
Source: Chris Hawley, “Venezuela drug trade booms,” USA Today, July 21, 2010.
In the first six months of 2010, authorities in Venezuela seized close to 30 metric tons of illegal drugs.
Source: Associated Press, “Venezuela captures drug suspect wanted by US,” Google News, June 24, 2010.
According to Venezuelan authorities, 60 tons of drugs was seized from the black market in Venezuela in 2009.
Source: “Venezuela raids cocaine labs on Colombia border,” Reuters, April 22, 2010.
300 tons of cocaine was trafficked through the borders of Venezuela in 2008, according to the US.
Up to 40 percent of the cocaine from Colombia that is trafficked in Europe is believed that have passed through Venezuela.
260 tons of cocaine that was produced in the Andes was transported through Venezuela in 2007
Source: Frank Jack Daniel, “Venezuela says radars slow Africa cocaine flights,” Reuters, September 8, 2009.