“Socalj” for Borderland Beat
A fugitive Venezuelan drug trafficker known as “El Taliban” was dumped alive in the ocean with his hands zip-tied and an anchor around his waist for stealing around 200 kilos of cocaine, and cash, from a cartel.
Reinaldo “El Taliban” Fuentes Campos, 68, was seen bound and had been gagged, with blood stains on the back of his head, in the Caribbean Sea near Martinique. He is then dumped overboard and left to drown on July 17, after being called to a meeting with cartel figures.
None of his kidnappers are identified but one is heard in the background of the video saying “make sure none of our faces can be seen” and another later says “he has no way to save himself.” Fuentes was murdered because he had been involved in stealing a multi-million-dollar cocaine shipment destined for Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. It is believed that the shipment was to the Mexican Gulf Cartel.
Reinaldo “El Taliban” Fuentes Campos was a native of Sucre, Venezuela, and had three children from a prior relationship in Venezuela. Fuentes allegedly controlled drug dealing in the Bonao neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where he picked up the ‘Taliban’ nickname due to illicit dealings with Middle Eastern drug traffickers.
Two members of his organization were previously killed in a shootout with the police in Buenos Aires. An investigation led cops to a home where a cache of weapons was recovered from a Bonao home. The weapons reportedly belonged to Fuentes.
US agencies have indicated that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s regime tolerates transnational criminal organizations’ operations within Venezuela, including some groups that the U.S. has designated as terrorist organizations. Corrupt Venezuelans have participated in and profited from these illicit activities.
Maduro was indicted in the United States in 2020, for leading a decades-long narco-terrorism and international drug trafficking network that also has included his family members and a large part of the military. The network is dubbed the Cartel de los Soles (Cartel of the Suns).
Cocaine & Cash Rip Off
In an elaborate ruse to rip off a large shipment of drugs, Fuentes, a middleman for the Venezuelan Clan del Cartel, earlier had dumped a shipment of narcotics worth $10 million at sea and fabricated a fake Coast Guard pursuit story to explain not bringing the drugs back to his bosses and kept the cash.
He then went back out on the water to collect the cocaine, repackaged it, and took it to another Caribbean island. But the scheme went awry when his men snitched, leading to his demise.
Fuentes obtained a fake national identification document that allowed him to live under the name of Miguel Fulcar in the Dominican Republic, making it difficult for him to be detected by authorities. Fuentes was reportedly dating a prominent lawyer, and caring for her daughter, in the Dominican city of Bonao.
Sources told Tolentino Fuentes entered the country on July 14 and was there for two days before leaving his Dominican home and was lured to a cartel meeting at an unknown location on July 17. That is when he was kidnapped and dumped at sea later that day.
Two men then struggled to lift Fuentes off the raft because he had an anchor wrapped around his body to prevent him from floating or being able to swim. They subsequently dump him headfirst into the sea.
The video ends with Fuentes sinking into the ocean, left to sleep with the fishes.
It’s unclear if authorities have made any arrests in the case although the Dominican Republic military said that the incident did not take place in its waters.
Sources Daily Mail, Twitter, GAO