11,000 police seize Venezuelan gang-run jail with its own zoo and nightclub

A Venezuelan journalist captured the moment 11,000 military personnel stormed the prison.

More than 11,000 Venezuelan security forces stormed the country's most notorious prison, seizing control of the gang-run jail that was reported to contain a nightclub and mini zoo.

Tens of thousands of military personnel took back control of Tocorón prison, which had been run by the Tren de Aragua gang for several years.

Video footage on social media showed flamingos in the compound while other reports suggested the 'zoo' was also home to big cats, crocodiles and ostriches.

During the gang's rule, inmates were able to move freely inside the prison, with partners and relatives even voluntarily moving in to be near them.

The gang had decked out Tocorón with hotel-style amenities, including a games room, children's play area, swimming pool and a nightclub called "Tokio" (Spanish for Tokyo).

In the wake of the seige, the Venezuelan government announced inmates would be evicted and transferred to another facility.

Hector Guerrero Flores, leader of the gang, has not been confirmed to be among the captured.

The Tren de Aragua - the countries largest criminal organization - also used Tocorón as the base for its operations which have infiltrated several South American countries.

President Nicolás Maduro celebrated the raid on X, formerly Twitter: "I congratulate the more than 11 thousand members of the FANB (National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela) and police forces for the successful intervention of the Tocorón Penitentiary Center.

"We are heading towards a Venezuela free of criminal gangs!"

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…