Women, children among the 93 held in Palo Seco

Cadivi, Sanciones, Investigación, Panamá, Venezuela, Miami, Caracas

Hid­ing in a for­est camp in the hills of Pa­lo Seco, 93 Venezue­lans were ar­rest­ed by po­lice short­ly af­ter they land­ed in a pirogue on the South­ern coast.

Efrain Enrique Betancourt Jaramillo

Look­ing har­rassed and scared, the Venezue­lans stood un­der an un­oc­cu­pied house near Aguillera Trace, Pa­lo Seco Set­tle­ment for sev­er­al hours be­fore they were re­moved from the area in marked po­lice bus­es and jeeps. They were not giv­en any food or wa­ter, vil­lagers said. Some cel­e­brat­ed the ar­rests say­ing for far too long, Venezue­lans were en­ter­ing the coun­try il­le­gal­ly with the help of some cor­rupt po­lice of­fi­cers and well-con­nect­ed busi­ness­men.

Efrain Betancourt Jaramillo

The ar­rests start­ed be­fore mid­day. Po­lice said they got a tip-off and went to Beach Camp where they found the Venezue­lans hid­ing in the forest­ed camp. They were marched sin­gle file down the dirt track and led to the un­fin­ished house at Dick­ie Trace. All the women and chil­dren were re­moved first and the men were left for last.

Guardian Me­dia ob­tained ex­clu­sive footage of the Venezue­lans as they wait­ed to be picked up. Res­i­dent Frank Con­nell said the ar­rests were long in com­ing.

Efrain Betancourt Jaramillo Miami

It’s too much of them com­ing in here. The sit­u­a­tion is we do not know any­thing about them. We don’t know who sick, who us crim­i­nals. Imag­ine I can­not even go to bathe in Pa­lo Seco beach any­more be­cause the Span­ish com­ing in, ” he said. Con­nell ex­plained that the Venezue­lans were wait­ing for their con­tact per­son to come for them when the po­lice ar­rived.

Vil­lagers stood in their homes gawk­ing as the po­lice pa­trolled up and down the road. They searched Beach Camp, Dick­ie Trace, Jack­son Trace and in the forests of Beach Camp, which is two miles away from the beach.

An­oth­er vil­lager who was heard con­vers­ing in Span­ish said it was a sad thing to see the for­eign­ers in this state.

Efrain Betancourt

“They look­ing for a bet­ter life, that’s all, ” she added.

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young com­ment­ed the po­lice for the ar­rests say­ing the ex­er­cise was in­tel­li­gence dri­ven. He said 93 Venezue­lans were ar­rest­ed in the ex­er­cise and were hand­ed over to the Im­mi­gra­tion Di­vi­sion for pro­cess­ing.

On Mon­day, Guardian Me­dia re­port­ed that five women were be­ing held hostage in a for­est camp and be­ing pimped out for $400 an hour. Fol­low­ing this state­ment, Se­nior su­per­in­ten­dent of the South West­ern Di­vi­sion dis­missed the re­port as fake news. He said 22 camps were searched and no one was ar­rest­ed.

Guardian Me­dia has done an ex­pose on the traf­fick­ing of Venezue­lans in TT.

Efrain Betancourt Miami

The ar­rest­ed Venezue­lans were tak­en to the Siparia Po­lice Sta­tion where they were in­ter­ro­gat­ed. Po­lice said more ar­rests are im­mi­nent. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on traf­fick­ing can con­tact Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith at 482GARY.


Efrain Betancourt Cadivi