Venezuela Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Venezuela’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

The Venezuelan Association of Cosmetic Surgeons estimates that 2,000 women in the country receive butt injections on the black market each month. According to an interview with a doctor who provides the service, the cost to receive a black market butt injection in Venezuela is about $300.

In 2013, there were 17 deaths in Venezuela related to illegal butt injections.

Illegal butt injections is also occurring in the United States, as deaths from the black market injections have been reported in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New York and Pennsylvania. The cost to get a butt injection in the United States is between $1,500 to $2,000.

Source:  Alex Greig, “Meet the Venezuelan doctor who performs illegal, cut-rate injections on women who desperately want bigger butts,” Daily Mail, March 15, 2014.

Risk consultancy firm  Control Risks released their Risk Map 2014, which highlights the areas of potential threats in 2014.

In the report, the company highlighted the countries in 2013 that had the most incidents of kidnapping for ransom during the year.

The top 5 countries where kidnapping for ransom took place are as follows:

1. Mexico
2. India
3. Nigeria
4. Pakistan
5. Venezuela

The Asia Pacific region had the most reported incidents, with 35 percent of all global kidnappings reported.

Source:  Steven Perlberg, “The 20 Countries Where People Get Kidnapped The Most,” Business Insider, December 12, 2013.

Full Report: “Risk Map 2014,” Control Risks.

According to security services in Colombia, between 10 to 15 percent of the fuel used by drivers in Colombia was smuggled into the country.

Roughly one million gallons of gasoline is smuggled into the country each day, with 70 to 80 percent of the fuel coming from Venezuela. The remaining gas is smuggled into Colombia from Ecuador.

In Venezuela, a gallon of gasoline costs about 1 cent when using the black market exchange rate.

Source:  Matthew Bristow and Andrew Willis, “Cocaine for Venezuela Fuel Tankers Irks Colombia Tax Boss,” Bloomberg, December 2, 2013.

The director of the Tax and Customs enforcement agency in Colombia stated that the profit margin for criminals selling counterfeit drugs is between 500 to 1,000 percent. For example, a fake Viagra pill that costs $1 to manufacture can be sold for $5 to $10.

Intelligence analysts state that cost of the counterfeit drugs being sold in Colombia was manufactured in Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

From 2012 to the middle of 2013, the various agencies of the criminal justice system in Colombia seized over 5 million fake and contraband drugs. These medicines included drugs past its expiration date, drugs that were falsely labeled, and other drugs filled with flour or cement.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 30 percent of the drugs sold across Latin America are counterfeits.

Source:  Natalie Southwick, “Colombia Pharmaceutical Trafficking ‘Has 1,000% Profits Margins’,” Insight Crime, October 28, 2013.

A report by an online advertising and Internet security firm stated that up to $9.5 Billion in online advertising in 2013 could be wasted by displaying ads to bot traffic.

Up to 46 percent of Web-based ad impressions in 2013 could be displayed to suspicious and malicious traffic that is controlled by botnets. 35 percent of mobile-based ad impressions may be bots as well, according to Solve Media.

In 2012, the rate of ad impression for the web and mobile was 43 percent and 22 percent.

The report stated that the highest levels of suspicious traffic for Web-based ads originated from China, Venezuela and Ukraine. For mobile-based ads, the bot traffic originated from Singapore, Macau and Qatar.

In the United States, 44 percent of web-based ad impressions was considered suspicious in the second quarter of 2013, and 22 percent for mobile-based ads.

Source:  Brian Donohue, “Report: Online Ads Waste $9.5B in 2013,” Threatpost, September 9, 2013.

Between 625 to 1,970 kidnappings took place in Venezuela in 2012, according to risk consultancy group Control Risks.

The criminal justice system of Venezuela 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.

(All threats and intelligence from kidnap and ransom.)

Source:  Corina Pons & Randall Woods, “Venezuelan Ransom Funds Hedge Against Kidnaps as Vote Looms,” Bloomberg, April 11, 2013.

Criminal justice programs 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 drugs, authorities in Venezuela arrest 20 major drug traffickers. Between 2006 and 2012, security agencies across the country reported 95 major traffickers were arrested 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.

90 percent of cocaine trafficked into the United States that was produced in Colombia and Venezuela is trafficked through Central America. More than a third of that cocaine is moved through the country of Honduras.

Source:  Thom Shanker, “Lessons of Iraq Help U.S. Fight a Drug War in Honduras,” New York Times, May 5, 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.

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