About 56 tons of food diverted for smuggling were seized by Venezuela's security forces on the first day of a comprehensive security operation that took place in the border region with Colombia as tension between the two countries intensifies.
Three Venezuelans were arrested for their alleged involvement in the illegal smuggling of food, according to a military official.
Venezuela's national army reportedly also found 150 people that are undocumented as part of an attempt to end mass migration of Colombians into Venezuela.
The operation comes as the Venezuelan president declared a state of exception in the border region in order to restore border controls following an alleged paramilitary attack that injured three soldiers on Wednesday. The state of exception is a move mandated under the consitution and is being used by President Maduro to restore peace and protect human rights in the border region.
"The operation and work continue across the entire border,” Chief of the Strategic Operational Command Remigio Caballos said.
Since August 2014, as part of the fight against illegal smuggling networks on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, security forces have seized over 20 tons of basic necessities.