Friday, September 29, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Friday, September 29, 2023 | Back issues
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Venezuelan President’s Relatives Indicted in NY

MANHATTAN (CN) - With less than a month to go until Venezuela's parliamentary elections, relatives of the country's socialist president Nicolas Maduro landed in New York on Thursday to face cocaine-smuggling charges.

The indictment unsealed today takes aim at Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, who are reportedly nephews of Venezuela's first lady, but reveals little about the allegations against them.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the men were arrested in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. They faced presentment before a federal judge in Manhattan this afternoon.

Various news outlets have quoted certain anonymous officials as saying that an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency had busted Flores and Freitas in a sting operation trying to import 800 kg of cocaine.

No court papers that have been released corroborate these details, but the allegations echo a U.S. sting operation that shook a different powerful Latin American family.

In March, the son of Suriname's president received a sentence of more than 16 years for accepting an undercover DEA agent's proposal offer of $20 million to let narcoterrorists set up camps in his country.

Prosecutors say that Flores and Freitas could face a life sentence if convicted.

Maduro, for his part, took to Twitter to condemn what he called "imperialist ambushes" of his socialist party, Reuters reported.

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