Chile’s Investigative Police (PDI) dismantled an arm of the transnational criminal organization El Tren de Aragua, originally from Venezuela, which has been terrorizing South America with homicides, kidnappings, human trafficking for sexual exploitation, and extortion, among other crimes. Operation Clandestino, which extends to different cities in the north and center of the country, led to the March 24th arrest of five men and a woman from the criminal group, Chilean news site El Mostrador reported.
The PDI confirmed that they captured in Quilpué, capital of Marga Marga province, “the leadership and armed wing of the criminal organization, including the man trusted by the leader of this criminal organization from Venezuela,” Prefect General José Ortiz, deputy director of the PDI’s Intelligence, Organized Crime, and Migratory Security, told Tele13.
Ortiz referred to Carlos González Vaca, alias El Estrella, head of the gang on Chilean soil, who reported directly to Héctor Rusthenford Guerrero Flores, alias Niño Guerrero, the top boss of the criminal organization, who led the gang from Tocorón prison in Aragua state, Venezuela. The rest of the detainees were hitmen, money collectors, and operatives, the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of Tarapacá, Chile, told Chilean news site ADPrensa.
Chilean TV network Mega reported that another important leader of the cartel, David Landaeta Garlotti, alias Satanás, 24, was captured in the port of Iquique on April 5. Alias Satanás’ criminal record began when he was 21 years old, earning his nickname for the coldness and cruelty of his murders in armed robberies of stores and banks.
El Tren de Aragua has more than 2,700 members, including armed criminals and men and women who collaborate with the mega-gang in intelligence work in Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, according to Insight Crime, an organization that studies organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This criminal organization […] is involved in extortion, kidnappings, homicides, assassinations, car theft, drug sales, arms trafficking, human trafficking, food smuggling and scams,” the organization said.