The shooting and the alleged confrontation between leaders and criminal gangs that occurred last weekend in Petare, Miranda state, and lasted four days, had the intention of distracting the state security forces in order to execute the mercenary disembarking in Macuto (La Guaira state), confessed José Alberto Socorro-Hernández, alias Pepero, one of the mercenaries captured and in charge of the ground logistics of the terrorist incursion. This could be seen in a video with his testimony, presented this Wednesday by the Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, at a press conference.
Socorro-Hernández received the orders from a DEA agent (Office of Administration for Drug Control of the United States), named Orlando Laufer.
Laufer instructed “Pepero” to create chaos in various popular areas of Caracas, with the support of other drug traffickers contacted under threat from the aforementioned US office, he said in his testimony presented this Wednesday by President Maduro.
“That is why I contacted Richard Camarano, who is a friendly partner of the gang leader aka Wilexis that manages the gangs in Petare, to create an alleged confrontation between gangs with weapons of war, without any casualties, to serve as a distraction for the state police forces and thus showing their inefficiency, and allowing us to successfully reach the objectives that we had set with the paramilitary groups that were going to land in La Guaira,” he explained.
On May 1, 2 and 3, the population of the popular sector of Petare, one of the largest barrios in South America, was shaken by continuous firing of weapons of war, including assault rifles, which occurred mainly in the afternoon and evening hours. According to different journalistic sources, it was allegedly a “confrontation” between the gangs of “Wilexis” and “El Gusano” for territorial control. There were no reports of deaths or injured after the continuous clashes, raising suspicion among many Venezuelans.
The rifle shots were heard in more remote urbanizations, such as La Urbina, El Marqués, El Llanito, La California, El Encantado and even in Los Ruices and Los Dos Caminos, and generated several days of cacerolazos by the inhabitants of Petare themselves in protest of the shooting.
En estos momentos se registra un nuevo enfrentamiento entre bandas en la Zona 10 de José Félix Ribas, Petare. Banda del Wilexis se enfrentaría a otra banda rival por el control del sector. Ya van 4 días continuos de enfrentamientos en el sector.#QuédateEnTuCasa pic.twitter.com/ZU8SegZ2Ua
— Oskar Rikkardo (@Radioalfalfa) May 2, 2020
Maduro explained that Socorro Hernández, alias Pepero, was a DEA agent for many years, and in the recent frustrated foray into the Venezuelan coast, he was “the logistical chief of the entire operation.”
The Venezuelan president ordered the Interior Minister, Nestor Reverol, to go after all those bands. “This is the time,” he said.
Orlando Laufer was already working for the DEA in 2001
Orlando Laufer is described by some media as a bounty hunter and former member of the then-so-called Technical Judicial Police (PTJ) of Venezuela, today CICPC. As early as 2001, El Nuevo Herald said he was a “DEA undercover agent.” He participated in the capture of Vladimiro Montesinos in Venezuela in 2001, which is why he was one of those who requested the payment of the reward. He claims that he was the one who provided the data to the journalist Patricia Poleo for an article written by her at the time about the location of Montesinos, which allowed her to win the King of Spain journalism award in 2001.
DEA was the operative body of the failed terrorist raid
In this sense, the Venezuelan dignitary explained the direct links of the DEA in the failed plan, which aimed to generate violence, selective assassinations, and kidnap him to later take him to the United States, while stressing that said North American body was the one that, through drug cartels in Venezuela and the neighboring country, constituted the operative part of the conspiracy, with the articulation of Pepero in the central region.
President Maduro stressed that DEA does not have agents fighting drug traffickers, but that they are “the drug lords” themselves.
The head of state also warned that the drug traffickers related by Pepero and the DEA seem to be businessmen and manage important material means such as yachts and mansions. Some were pointed out by Pepero in his statement and several accomplices are detained already, he added.
“They are not entrepreneurs at all. They are DEA agents, drug traffickers in Venezuela! The DEA protects the drug trafficking route. They are imprisoned, they were the direct collaborators of this man, alias Pepero. They are imprisoned, all those who provided trucks, cars, direct accomplices. They all knew what they were for, and many of them were the livelihood of the drug trafficking networks and presented themselves as businessmen,” Maduro said.
Similarly, he pointed to a luxury gym at the Cerro Verde Shopping Center, Los Naranjos (Caracas), where they began to plan the incursion and how to execute drug smuggling, once the plan was completed.
Translated and edited by JRE/EF