VIDEO | Police in Venezuela have regained control of a prison run by criminal gangs

Police in Venezuela / Photo EPA/HUMBERTO MATHEUS

Authorities in Venezuela have regained control of the country's most notorious prison, Tocoron, which was completely under the control of criminals.

About 11.000 police and dozens of armored vehicles were deployed to regain control of Tokoron prison. The prison is now completely emptied, and about 2.500 inmates have been transferred to other prisons.

The prison was controlled by the Tren de Aragua gang, which has spread across Venezuela and at least eight other Latin American countries.

According to the investigation carried out by the Venezuelan journalist Rona Riskes, who was interviewed by AFP, until now the police remained outside, and the administration of the prison was in the hands of a gang that extorted prisoners, but offered unusual services, with a swimming pool, a zoo, betting, gyms and sports. fields.

In a press release, the Venezuelan government hailed the "successful" operation and "absolute control over Tocoron Penitentiary."

Police stormed the prison around 7am, throwing "grenades" and shooting. The operation lasted about twenty minutes, and the official report cannot be obtained for the time being.

Several of those arrested took advantage of the confusion to escape, according to police sources. The fate of Tren de Aragua leader Hector Guerrero Flores, known as "Nino Guerrero" (child warrior), who served a 17-year prison sentence for murder and drug trafficking, is unknown.

The Tren de Aragua gang, which reportedly has about 5.000 criminals, appeared in 2014 and is engaged in "classic" mafia business: kidnappings, robberies, drugs, prostitution, extortion.

The research center InSight Crime claims that the group is also involved in migrant smuggling, and has extended its influence to other activities, some legal, but also to gold laundering and illegal mining.

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