Caracas [Venezuela], September 24 (ANI): After regaining control of a jail run by the dreaded criminal organisation in the northern state of Aragua, Venezuela claims to have dismantled the Tren de Aragua gang, Al Jazeera reported.
Remigio Ceballos, the interior minister, made the announcement on Saturday, days after the Venezuelan government deployed 11,000 military and police to the Tocoron jail, which contained dining establishments, bars, and even outdoor swimming pools and served as the Tren de Aragua's operational hub.
"We have total control of this prison and we have completely dismantled the self-proclaimed former Tren de Aragua," Ceballos told reporters, according to Al Jazeera.
He did not offer additional details, however.
The Tren de Aragua gang, which the authorities claim has over 5,000 members, initially came to light in 2014. It is renowned for its knowledge of extortion, prostitution, drugs, and robberies. Its influence has expanded to encompass both illegal gold mining and other businesses, some of which are legal.
Authorities say that the Wednesday raid to reclaim the Tocoron jail dealt a "devastating blow" to the gang, but civil society organisations have questioned the operation's success given that Tren de Aragua's boss had already fled before the operation.
According to Al Jazeera, Hector Guerrero, the gang's commander, and other leaders were informed about the raid one week in advance, according to the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVV), an organisation that monitors events in the nation's infamously violent correctional facilities.
The OVV accused authorities of "opacity" but did not disclose which nations they visited. These accusations have been refuted by the authorities. (ANI)