On Friday the 17th, 14 members of an arm of the Tren de Aragua, a criminal gang from central Venezuela that has internationalized its misdeeds in northern Chile and other regions of the continent, were held in preventive detention. The chief prosecutor of the Tarapacá region, Raúl Arancibia, stressed that they do not receive “any” cooperation from Venezuela
Eduardo Vergara, Undersecretary for Crime Prevention at the Chilean Ministry of the Interior, stated last week that the country is experiencing “the worst security moment since the return to democracy.”
The official settled that populism had to be avoided to address this problem, whose confrontation is complex and long-term, “but the truth must be recognized,” he quoted a report from D.W..
The rise in crime in the southern cone country is linked to the arrival in the region of organized crime gangs from Colombia and Venezuela, which have very violent practices and have led to the fact that Chilean gangs have also become more violent. “so as not to be devastated by foreign gangs,” says the chief prosecutor of the Tarapacá region in Chile, Raúl Arancibia.
Regarding the Aragua Train, it indicates that this very violent group is found in a large part of America. “Here we have a 21-year-old hitman detained, who is called Satan, who has homicides in Peru and other parts of the continent.”
“We really don’t know what these people are called, because they are undocumented or carry false documents and we don’t have any, understandably, any collaboration from Venezuela. None”, emphasizes Arancibia.
“The danger of our own gangs has increased, and there are many weapons circulating,” says the prosecutor.
He acknowledges that it is “a very sensitive issue” because although immigrants commit proportionally fewer crimes than Chileans, there are groups of foreign criminals who are perpetrating acts rarely seen in Chile: kidnapping for extortion, contract killings, murder and mutilation of bodies and drug trafficking. people, among others.
Arancibia specifies that until recently they referred to “foreign criminality, but with the arrival of the Aragua Train, which is Venezuelan, that changed.”
According to his account, the wiretaps by the authorities reveal that Colombian criminals speak of “chopping” corpses until the entry of ketamine, “a drug that is trafficked mainly by Venezuelans”, through loans with high interest rates that overwhelm small merchants, who they must flee the region under pressure from foreign organized groups.
14 Venezuelans were charged on June 17
A press release from the Prosecutor’s Office of Chile specified that, after the arrest on Friday, June 17, of members of the group “Los Gallegos” extension of the Aragua Train, 17 foreigners were charged, of which 14 are of Venezuelan nationality, including five women.
They were all arrested in an operation in the Cerro Chuño sector in Tarapacá that “concluded with the seizure of eleven firearms, a fragmentation grenade, about 37 kilos of drugs and the discovery of the lifeless body of a man buried in the surroundings”.
The Prosecutor’s Office of the extreme north, the Anti-Narcotics Brigade and the Investigative Police (PDI) against Organized Crime, who were investigating a drug trafficking plot, acted jointly.
According to the police, Los Gallegos had “properties used to store drugs, weapons and explosives and that in the vicinity of the landfill they had set up a site to subject members of rival gangs to torture and also hide the bodies of executed people underground.”
One of the regions hardest hit by the criminality of foreign groups is Tarapacá, which went from 18 homicides in 2020 to 54 in 2021, and so far in 2022 there are already 25, most of them crimes committed by gangs. foreigners.
“Criminality increased very violently with the arrival of the Colombians, and with them the first commissioned homicides or settling of scores took place, all with an unusual degree of violence for us,” prosecutor Arancibia explains to DW, with more 20 years of experience in the position.
Prosecutor Arancibia comments that it is necessary to impose stricter border controls.
“I was born in Iquique and I have seen how this went from being as calm as a cup of milk to what it is now, and this can affect the image of the country, which is still seen as a serious place, and eventually damage the economy. “, Explain.
At the beginning of 2022, groups of residents in the town of Iquique will star violent acts against Venezuelans homeless camping in a parking lot. They burned their belongings and demanded that the Chilean government expel them.
The Government of Chile has tried to return to the security agenda, with the proposal of totally ban guns in the hands of civilians and calling a work table to seek answers to organized crime.
Arancibia explains that the porosity of the border prevents the State from knowing who enters or leaves its territory.
“These gangs are on both sides of the border and sometimes force migrants to bring in weapons or drugs,” says Arancibia.
With information from DW.