Venezuelan Police in February 2023. (Photo: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNN Spanish) -- The Government of Venezuela declared on Wednesday "the total success" of a military operation that sought to completely evict the Tocorón prison, in the center-north of the country, which began early in the morning with the sending of 11,000 men to its facilities, according to a statement from the Ministry of Communication and Information.
The prison is based in the well-known mega-gang El tren de Aragua, whose presence has been reported in Chile and other South American countries, according to reports from the organization Insight Crime.
However, the government of Nicolás Maduro did not mention the criminal organization in its press release, but assured that the operation had resulted in the dismantling of a "center of conspiracy and crime, used by an international criminal network against the Venezuelan population."
The government reported that the Tocorón prison will go through a restructuring process and that it will be evicted "completely."
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According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons, the Tocorón prison has about 2,500 inmates although, according to official figures, the prison population amounts to 1,500 inmates in a facility with capacity for 750. The non-governmental organization estimates that there are 32,000 people deprived of liberty in Venezuelan prisons, with a capacity to house 21,000 prisoners.
The Ministry of the Interior, Justice and Peace, the Ministry of Penitentiary Services, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces and the Attorney General's Office are also involved in the proceedings, according to the authorities.
The general coordinator of the NGO Una Ventana a la Libertad, Carlos Nieto, assures that the problem of Tocorón is not new and that for years the control of the prison was in the hands of the inmates, in this case headed by an inmate known as "the Guerrero child".