Fort Lauderdale (FL).- U.S. authorities seized 81 vehicles to be shipped to Venezuela and investigate possible links of the wrongdoing with a former nicolás Maduro government official, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported on Wednesday. The vehicles, including one valued at $95,000 and endowed with sirens, which was apparently intended for members of the Maduro environment, were seized by batches in Everglades Harbor, John Tobon, HSI’s agent, the DHS research arm, reported on Wednesday.
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«These vehicles were going to Venezuela to benefit people who are getting rich through corruption in the country,» Tobon emphasized at a press conference in Fort Lauderdale, 42 kilometres north of Miami.The officer detailed, however, that no arrests have been filed so far after the operation, which he called the «biggest» in vehicle smuggling, valued at $3.2 million.
81 vehicles seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, July 8, 2020. / Photo: EFE.
Tobon said that the illicit is just the «tip of the iceberg» of an international network in which Venezuelan potter Alejandro Andrade and businessman Raúl Gorrín may be involved, President of the Venezuelan television channel Globovisión.Andrade is imprisoned in the U.S. with a sentence to 10 years in prison for money laundering, while Gorrín is charged by U.S. justice for bribery and money laundering in a multimillion-dollar plot and is part of a list of the most wanted for corruption.» What is being done now is not a disorganized activity. This did not happen because we stumbled upon it but was part of an international intelligence collaboration,» he said. He added that in South Florida «there are accomplices working to enrich those involved in crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking or smuggling.» Tobon explained that the vehicles were purchased without any loans and by bank transfer from accounts in tax havens. He detailed that the vehicles, including the Lexus, Mercedes, Toyota and Land Rover brands, were apparently also intended for the Venezuelan police.The seizure, which happened in batches, the last on June 16, was disclosed two days after President Donald Trump’s planned visit to U.S. Southern Command in South Florida.The Republican ordered in April this year «duplicate» the number of military ships and soldiers on the coasts of Latin America to fight drug trafficking in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, including Venezuela and Mexico.You may also be interested: Venezuela: they order capture of 11 opponents for the case of the goldMaduro and Guaidó congratulate Abinader on electoral victory in the Dominican RepublicMaduro believes that not to expel the EU ambassador was «the smartest»