POLICE are working with the International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol, and the Venezuelan authorities in connection with Sunday’s arrest of a wanted Venezuelan gang leader at Point Fortin.
Up to late yesterday the man, nicknamed “El Culón,” was being interviewed in Port of Spain by police from various specialised units, including the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit, through an interpreter.
The 26-year-old suspect has been identified as the leader of the notorious Evander gang, which operates in Tucupita, the capital city of Delta Amacuro state.
Media sources in Venezuela told Newsday, El Culón is believed to have assumed control of Evander recently after its former leader Miguel Barrada Morales, 28, was killed by Venezuelan authorities in March. El Culón is wanted back home for multiple murders, kidnappings and drug trafficking. Venezuela media said the gang controls all illegal activities in Altagracia, a community within Tucupita.
He has also been linked to several kidnappings of Trinidadians at sea over the past few years.
El Culón, described by Venezuelan media as a “ruthless person,” was one of eight illegal Venezuelan immigrants arrested by South Western Division police at Point Fortin on Sunday. The others arrested included two Venezuelan women and a 15-year-old girl, and a 28-year-old Trinidadian fisherman.
El Culón has two recent gunshot wounds to his stomach. Up to late yesterday, it was not known if he was shot in Trinidad or in Venezuela.
The Venezuelans are each facing a charge of entering the country illegally at a beach which is not a port of entry and failing to report to an immigration officer as required by law.
El Culón, a 26-year-old Venezuelan and the Trinidadian face additional charges of having two pistols and nine rounds of ammunition.
Three other Venezuelans face additional charges of having a revolver with four rounds of ammunition.
Police said they also found two AR-15 rifles wrapped in black plastic with two magazines and 64 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition in a forested area at the Cap-De-Ville Main Road.
Snr Sup Deonarine Basdeo led the investigations.
Once charged, the suspects will appear before a Point Fortin magistrate.