Tagged: Venezuela

Juárez among most dangerous cities in the world

(CURRENT-ARGUS) — Juárez is once again one of the most dangerous cities in the world, according to a group that releases annual rankings.

The Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexican think tank, has ranked Juárez 37th out of the 50 most violent cities worldwide with a population of more than 300,000. The ranking comes after Juárez had fallen off the list last year.

Juárez was among eight Mexican cities on the list, which included Acapulco in the No. 2 spot. The most violent city in the world was Caracas, Venezuela. Four U.S. cities also made the list, including St. Louis, Mo., Baltimore, Md., New Orleans, La., and Detroit, Mich. They ranked 14, 26, 34 and 36, respectively.

Juárez’s return to the undesirable list — as well as that of Chihuahua City and Mazatlán, which fell off the list in 2015 and 2012, respectively — is evidence on how violence has picked up in Mexico and attempts to contain it have utterly failed, said José Antonio Ortega Sánchez, president of the Citizens Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice.

The rankings are based on homicides for 2016 and don’t include deaths in combat zones or cities with unavailable data.

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U.S. sanctions Venezuelan vice president on drug trafficking

(AZCENTRAL) — The Trump administration imposed sanctions Monday against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of playing a significant role in international drug trafficking.

The Treasury Department has been investigating El Aissami for years over his alleged relations with Venezuela’s largest convicted drug trafficker and a Middle Eastern militant group, resulting in the decision to designate him a narcotics trafficker under the federal “Kingpin Act.”

The department said he orchestrated drug shipments from a Venezuelan air base and multiple seaports, some weighing more than 2,200 pounds per shipment.

The department also sanctioned Samark Lopez Bello, a Venezeulan businessman accused of being El Aissami’s frontman. Lopez Bello helped launder money through a network of 13 companies in the U.S., Venezuela, Panama, the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom.

Treasury officials would not comment on whether the Justice Department will seek indictments against the two men. But the sanctions include freezing all their U.S.-based assets, which include a twin-engine Gulfstream jet, and blocking all their U.S.-based companies and properties. The pair controlled tens of millions of dollars in Miami real estate alone, a senior Treasury Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Under the sanctions, the two men are forbidden from traveling to the United States, and people in the U.S. are prohibited from conducting transactions with them or the companies they controlled.

The Treasury official said the operation was years in the planning but did not say whether President Trump signed off on the sanctions before they were implemented.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., called the sanctions “long overdue.”

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