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Characteristics that make the Aragua train a unique criminal gang in Latin America

Characteristics that make the Aragua train a unique criminal gang in Latin America


From its headquarters in Venezuela, within a few years the Tren de Aragua grew from a prison gang to a powerful criminal gang with tentacles in several Latin American countries. In Peru it was classified as “enemy number one”. Clashes with guerrillas and paramilitary groups over border control in Colombia. In Chile it has gained a foothold in the north of the country and is considered a threat to national security.

By: Infobay

The gang has an extensive criminal portfolio which strengthens its financial resources. The businesses it operates in include human trafficking, migrant smuggling, smuggling, extortion, robbery and drug trafficking.

According to InsideCrime, the flourishing of these crimes is due to the impunity that has prevailed for so long under the Maduro regime.

Recently, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Juan Gil assured in a meeting in Cucuta (Colombia) with Colombian Foreign Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo, “The Aragua train is a fictional story trying to create a label that does not exist by the international media. , “They did it at that time with the Cartel of the Sons. “

In response, Chile's interior minister, Carolina Doha, denied the existence of Venezuelan criminal gangs and said it was a “disgrace” that they were an invention of the international media.

“This is an insult not to the Chilean government, but to the people of Chile and the people of Latin America. It is unacceptable,” Doha said in statements to the press.

A few days later, on his X account (formerly Twitter), the Venezuelan foreign minister confirmed the presence of the criminal organization. However, he promised that the Maduro regime had ended the Aragua train in Venezuela.

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In turn, Maduro said on his television show that “people like (Republican Senator) Marco Rubio in the United States are behind the story of the Aragua train,” a kind of ISIS. The New Taliban or the New Medellin Cartel.”

About this topic, Infobae spoke to World of Crime director Chris Dolby, an expert on organized crime who is preparing a book on the Aragua train.

What do you think about the Venezuelan foreign minister saying that the band has already disbanded in Venezuela?

Maduro said the Aragua train was completely dismantled after a successful coup in December 2023, where police and several Venezuelan officials stormed the Tocoron prison and captured several members of the gang. But it is important to know that the main leader of the group, Nino Guerrero, escaped and has not been caught till date. It is very difficult to tell when a criminal group will be eliminated, because if they catch the leader of a group, other members with their knowledge, their structures, their funding, their weapons can reform it under a different name. So the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčeliminating a criminal group is highly debatable.

-Tell us a little about the origin of this criminal organization, its evolution as a syndicate and how it expanded and consolidated.

The thing to understand about the Aragua train is that it has characteristics that are unique in Latin America. It is the first Venezuelan criminal group to expand nationally with an almost entirely unique business model. The model was later replicated in other Latin American countries. Aragua Rail began in the early 2000s as a union of railway workers in the state of Aragua. From that moment, the core of the gang leaders slowly formed a criminal gang. If its members are captured, Tokoron Prison soon becomes their center of operations, a nuclear powerhouse. The gang's leadership then begins to control cells from there in various regions: first in the state of Aragua, then throughout Venezuela, and then, little by little, in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador. . But it catches on in Aragua. why there Because in some parts of that Venezuelan state, especially in the neighborhood of San Vicente, it has social control, and receives government resources and support. And it has a foundation, which is not really a charitable foundation, but functions through what we call JK Neighbors and is its public face.

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You can read the full note here Infobay