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Ecuador News

Brazilians burn down Venezuelan refugee camp, Colombian police arrest six tied to drug shipment on Ecuador ‘death bus’

Angry Brazilians burn down refugee camp

Brazilian President Michel Temer called an emergency meeting Sunday after Venezuelan refugee camp buildings were burned to the ground near Pacaraima.

Onlookers watch a refugee camp burns near Pacaraima.

Area residents claim that the Venezuelans, who are camped on several sites close to the Brazilian-Venezuelan border, are committing burglaries and other crimes in the area. According to authorities, none of the refugees living in the buildings were injured but tensions remain high.

“We cannot condone the violence that happened Saturday and are investigating to determine the cause,” Temer said.

According to the Brazilian Red Cross, more than 5,000 Venezuelans are camped in and near Pacaraima, a town of 15,000.

Colombia arrests six in ‘death bus’ investigation

Colombian police arrested six people allegedly involved in the shipment of marijuana on a bus that crashed last week in Ecuador, killing 23 and injuring 22. Those arrested were part of the Cali-based “Los Mercaderes de la Frontera” crime organization that has been active in transporting drugs throughout Colombia, police said.

The half-ton+ shipment sent by bus to Ecuador was part of the group’s effort to expand its routes to Ecuador, Peru and Chile, a police captain said Saturday following the arrests. “Los Mercaderes has ties to other drug organizations in Colombia and Mexico and is known for its own brand of marijuana that is enhanced with chemicals and shipped primarily to North America,” he said. He added that police had seized equipment used by Los Mercaderes to process drugs, as well as cocaine, coca paste and marijuana.

In Ecuador, authorities are holding the driver of the bus that crashed August 14 near Papallacta, about an hour east of Quito. They say they have not yet determined whether he was involved with Los Mercaderes.