A look inside Tocorón, Venezuela’s gang-run prison that mined bitcoin

Final week, the federal government of Venezuela despatched 11,000 cops and troopers into Tocorón jail, notoriously run by the Tren de Aragua gang, and seized buckets of bullets, piles of machine gun ammo belts, sniper rifles, explosives, rocket launchers, grenades, and a small military of bitcoin miners.

Backed by tanks and armoured automobiles, the jail was efficiently stormed on Wednesday. As police and troops found, Venezuela’s strongest gang has been making an attempt to make additional money with rows upon rows of outdated Bitmain Antminers.

It’s unclear how worthwhile the bitcoin mining operation was; outdated tools apart, Venezuela has quickly banned crypto mining. And whereas the nation enjoys low-cost, subsidised electrical energy, power blackouts are frequent.

#21Sep | Así quedó la cárcel de Tocorón tras la primera fase de la Operación Liberación Cacique Guaicaipuro, en el lugar hallaron hasta máquinas para minar criptomonedas.

Video: RRSS

— Caraota Digital (@CaraotaDigital) September 21, 2023

Bodycam footage reveals loads of outdated bitcoin miners within the jail.

Learn extra: Drug gang used Coinbase to launder crypto from jail

Inside Tocorón: Lions, tigers, and pumas galore

What is evident, nonetheless, is that Tren de Aragua members had been having an absolute riot earlier than troops confirmed up. Authorities discovered that the jail featured a restaurant, pool, kids’s playground, playing rooms, a disco named Tokio, a baseball area, and a zoo — à la Escobar.

In keeping with stories, the zoo housed tigers, lions, crocodiles, flamingos, ocelots, and pumas, to ‘threaten’ inmates and authorities officers.

Bodycam footage by authorities reveal the jail additionally housed a small military of pigs, which probably fed the inmates and gang members.


Membership Tokio.

The seized bitcoin mining rigs.

The jail has served because the gang’s headquarters for a while. From Tocorón, Tren de Aragua is alleged to have carried out its operations throughout South America, residing in shacks constructed exterior of the place the opposite prisoners had been housed. Tocorón allowed the gang freedom to do as they please, in addition to recruit and practice new members.

The gang is thought for kidnappings, robberies, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, and unlawful gold mining.

Tren de Aragua chief and high members fled

Authorities stated that 1,600 inmates had been evacuated in the course of the raid. Alongside the hoards of weaponry discovered, police and troopers found that some Tocorón inmates had been stored “in a form of slavery,” Inside and Justice Minister Remigio Ceballos stated.

4 jail guards had been arrested below suspicion of serving to the gang members take pleasure in their unusually candy facilities, and 60 Tren de Aragua members had been captured, Ceballos acknowledged.

The small metropolis of Tocoron jail (through Day by day Mail).

Learn extra: Brazil gang caught laundering unlawful gold with crypto

Nonetheless, some are reported to have escaped — based on native outlet El Nacional, between 400 to 500 prisoners are still missing. This includes Tren de Aragua leader Héctor ‘Niño’ Guerrero, who was apparently tipped off about the raid and escaped with other high-ranking officials several days before through a hidden tunnel that had several exits.

Guerrero is assumed to have raked in over $3 million a 12 months by means of numerous operations ran from the jail, together with charging inmates for vaccinations.

Now totally vacated, Tocorón will bear restoration.

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