Three alleged Colombian paramilitaries were arrested today in Táchira state (west, border with Colombia) for "contraband gasoline extraction and drug trafficking," said Chavez official Freddy Bernal who said that these individuals were acting under the protection of the Colombian Army.
Bernal, who has been designated by the Government of Nicolás Maduro as "protector" of that entity and holds a position parallel to the figure of the state governor, told private channel Globovisión, that the arrests were made in a joint operation between the Force Navy and the Bolivarian National Police.
The official said they were captured "Edderfrei Castro, Jennifer Becerra and a third, aka" sugar "yet to be identified."
According to Bernal, these individuals operate "under the protection of the Colombian police and the Colombian Army," so "permanent actions" will be carried out to attack "these criminals," he said.
The operation was carried out in several sectors of this porous border to act "against the various mafias of smuggling gasoline and drug trafficking" that, said Bernal, make life in this area.
Bernal said that nine other individuals were also detained "all involved in the crime of smuggling gasoline to the Republic of Colombia."
"Despite the protection of the side there (of Colombia) on this side our FAN (…) and the PNB have given this hard blow to the mafias and we will continue working (…) to confront the paramilitary bands (…) ) and guarantee peace in the Táchira state, "Bernal insisted.
The state of Táchira is one of the regions in Venezuela where there are problems due to the supply of gasoline, something that has led many of the inhabitants of the area to sleep at gas stations to be able to supply their gasoline vehicles.
According to estimates by the ruling Chavismo, the illegal extraction of Venezuelan gasoline through the extensive border with Colombia generates "millions of dollars" to the smugglers and has become one of the most profitable businesses due to the price difference and the subsidies that maintains Caracas.