Published: Thu, March 26, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

US indicts Venezuela's Maduro on narcoterror charges

US indicts Venezuela's Maduro on narcoterror charges

The Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other regime heavies on Thursday in connection with alleged narco-terrorism and drug smuggling into the United States.

Geoffrey Berman, US attorney for the southern district of NY said the accused called the operation the "cartel of the suns".

Barr that the charges allege a conspiracy involving the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a terrorist group he said was determined to "flood the USA with cocaine".

The charges against Maduro - which also include weapons offenses and narcoterrorism - carry a minimum sentence of at least 50 years.

According to the indictment, the officials were members of the cartel, which has worked to "facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine in into the United States" since 1999.

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Venezuela is permitting Colombians linked with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army - known by its Spanish initials, "FARC" - to use its airspace to fly cocaine north through Central America to destinations in North America, Barr alleged.

The Trump administration has sought for more than a year to oust the socialist Maduro while the country plunges into economic decay.

The indictment calls for all of the defendants, including Maduro, to forfeit any and all property derived from the alleged offenses.

US officials have long accused Maduro and his associates or running a "narco-state", saying they have used drug trafficking proceeds to make up for lost revenue from a Venezuelan oil sector heavily sanctioned by the United States.

This is a developing story.

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