Colombia Captures 19 Presumed Members of the Aragua Train

BOGOTÁ (HPD) — Authorities in the Colombian capital captured 19 alleged members of the Tren de Aragua, a transnational criminal organization originating in Venezuela and which the police say is responsible for several homicides and the sale of drugs in Bogotá.

Among those captured there are 14 Venezuelans and five Colombians, one of them is a police officer who would have alerted the gang of the investigative actions in exchange for gifts of up to 437 dollars a week, Colombian authorities said in statements to the press.

The presence of the Aragua Train in Bogotá began to resonate strongly this year due to the appearance of at least 19 corpses in abandoned plastic bags, some dismembered.

According to the Colombian police, the members of the Aragua Train in Bogotá respond to its leader Héctor Guerrero Flores, alias “Niño Guerrero”, currently imprisoned in the Tocorón prison, in the Venezuelan state of Aragua. In the recent operation, two alleged links to “Niño Guerrero” in Bogotá were captured.

Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has rejected the accusations that the operation of the Aragua Train be coordinated from his country. “It’s embarrassing to say that the violence in Colombia comes from Venezuela,” he said on his television program a month ago.

The Tren de Aragua is not the only organization behind drug trafficking in Bogotá. The mayor’s office has identified nine criminal gangs and some of them are fighting each other for control of the illicit economy. The gang “Los Maracuchos” would be allegedly involved in some selective murders of bodies found in bags, and the “Los Chontaduro”, dedicated to micro-trafficking.

The Colombian Prosecutor’s Office will charge the 19 captured with the crimes of homicide, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, extortion and bribery, according to their level of participation.

The Minister of Defense, Iván Velásquez, stressed that with the capture of the policeman allegedly collaborating with the criminal gang, a clear message of “zero tolerance with corruption” is given.

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