Venezuela’s most powerful criminal organization, Tren de Aragua, has been rapidly expanding its reach in recent years, presenting a formidable challenge not only to Latin American countries but also to the United States. The group, known for its violent tactics and involvement in drug trafficking, human trafficking and extortion, has been linked to several incidents in different parts of the country.
The first signs of Tren de Aragua presence in the United States emerged in November last year, when a former Venezuelan police officer was found dead in South Florida. Since then, several incidents and connections to the gang have been reported in different parts of the country. It has even been revealed that the gang has established operations in the Chicago area, which has generated concern among local and federal authorities. The US Border Patrol has also confirmed that 38 members of the Aragua Train have been arrested in various areas along the border over the past year.
How was Tren de Aragua created?
The notorious and feared criminal network known as “El Tren de Aragua” originated in Venezuela’s Tocorón prison. Founded in 2013 by its leader known as “El Niño Guerrero,” who had previously been sentenced for various crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, drug trafficking and homicide. His ability to expand rapidly and carry out his illegal activities in much of Latin America, especially Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, has allowed him to consolidate a force of more than 4,000 men under his command. “El Niño Guerrero” has been at large since September 2023 and is considered the most wanted criminal in Venezuela.
What makes the presence of the Tren Aragua particularly alarming is its notorious violence and extensive network in Venezuela. The gang reportedly has strong ties to the country’s political and economic elite, making it a force to be reckoned with. In addition, its presence in the US is a clear indication of how political and economic instability in Venezuela can directly affect other countries.
As the group continues to expand its operations, it is crucial that authorities remain vigilant and take the necessary steps to disrupt its activities and bring its members to justice. It is clear that their reach knows no borders.