July 18th, 2024

US sanctions a Venezuela gang for spreading criminal activity across Latin America

By The Associated Press on July 11, 2024.

MIAMI (AP) – The Biden administration on Thursday sanctioned Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua as a transnational criminal organization and offered a $12 million reward for the arrest of the leaders.

Washington accuses the one-time prison gang of spreading across Latin America with a portfolio of criminal activity that includes kidnapping, extortion and human trafficking.

The Tren de Aragua originated in Venezuela’s infamously uncontrolled prisons but has expanded in recent years on the backs of millions of desperate Venezuelan migrants who have fled President Nicolas Maduro’s rule and taken up residency in other parts of Latin America or the United States.

“Tren de Aragua poses a deadly criminal threat across the region,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement, adding that it often preys on vulnerable populations such as migrant women and girls for sex trafficking.

“When victims seek to escape this exploitation, Tren de Aragua members often kill them and publicize their deaths as a threat to others,” the statement added.

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