Final week, the federal government of Venezuela despatched 11,000 law enforcement officials and troopers into Tocorón jail, notoriously run by the Tren de Aragua gang, and seized buckets of bullets, piles of machine gun ammo belts, sniper rifles, explosives, rocket launchers, grenades, and a small military of bitcoin miners.
Backed by tanks and armoured automobiles, the jail was efficiently stormed on Wednesday. As police and troops found, Venezuela’s strongest gang has been making an attempt to make additional money with rows upon rows of outdated Bitmain Antminers.
It’s unclear how worthwhile the bitcoin mining operation was; outdated tools apart, Venezuela has briefly banned crypto mining. And whereas the nation enjoys low cost, subsidised electrical energy, power blackouts are frequent.
#21Sep | Así quedó la cárcel de Tocorón tras la primera fase de la Operación Liberación Cacique Guaicaipuro, en el lugar hallaron hasta máquinas para minar criptomonedas.
Video: RRSS pic.twitter.com/Nv26bsKhUo
— Caraota Digital (@CaraotaDigital) September 21, 2023
Bodycam footage reveals loads of outdated bitcoin miners within the jail.
Learn extra: Drug gang used Coinbase to launder crypto from jail
Inside Tocorón: Lions, tigers, and pumas galore
What is evident, nevertheless, is that Tren de Aragua members had been having an absolute riot earlier than troops confirmed up. Authorities discovered that the jail featured a restaurant, pool, kids’s playground, playing rooms, a disco named Tokio, a baseball discipline, and a zoo — à la Escobar.
In response to reviews, the zoo housed tigers, lions, crocodiles, flamingos, ocelots, and pumas, to ‘threaten’ inmates and authorities officers.
Bodycam footage by authorities reveal the jail additionally housed a small military of pigs, which probably fed the inmates and gang members.
The seized bitcoin mining rigs.
The jail has served because the gang’s headquarters for a while. From Tocorón, Tren de Aragua is alleged to have carried out its operations throughout South America, dwelling in shacks constructed outdoors of the place the opposite prisoners had been housed. Tocorón allowed the gang freedom to do as they please, in addition to recruit and practice new members.
The gang is thought for kidnappings, robberies, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, and unlawful gold mining.
Tren de Aragua chief and prime members fled
Authorities stated that 1,600 inmates had been evacuated throughout the raid. Alongside the hoards of weaponry discovered, police and troopers found that some Tocorón inmates had been stored “in a sort of slavery,” Inside and Justice Minister Remigio Ceballos stated.
4 jail guards had been arrested beneath suspicion of serving to the gang members get pleasure from their unusually candy facilities, and 60 Tren de Aragua members had been captured, Ceballos said.
The small metropolis of Tocoron jail (by way of Every day Mail).
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Nevertheless, some are reported to have escaped — in line with native outlet El Nacional, between 400 to 500 prisoners are still missing. This includes Tren de Aragua leader Héctor ‘Niño’ Guerrero, who was apparently tipped off about the raid and escaped with other high-ranking officials several days before through a hidden tunnel that had several exits.
Guerrero is assumed to have raked in over $3 million a yr via varied operations ran from the jail, together with charging inmates for vaccinations.
Now solely vacated, Tocorón will endure restoration.