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  1. #1
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    U.S. files drug trafficking charges against Venezuelan president

    U.S. files drug trafficking charges against Venezuelan president




    Pete Williams and Tom Winter

    NBC News March 26, 2020, 11:05 AM EDT











    U.S. files drug trafficking charges against Venezuelan president


    The Trump administration filed criminal charges Thursday in the Southern District of New York against senior officials of the government of Venezuela, including president Nicolás Maduro, accusing them of taking a leading role in the country's illegal drug trafficking.


    The charges marked a new low in U.S. relations with Venezuela, which have been deteriorating since 1999, when Hugo Chavez, Maduro's predecessor, became president. He villainized the U.S. and other countries he accused of taking advantage of Venezuela.


    The U.S. and Maduro have long been at odds over the country's extensive corruption. The Trump administration backed a leader of the opposition, Juan Guaidó, instead of Maduro.
    Maduro “helped manage and ultimately lead” a criminal organization known as the Cartel of the Suns, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.


    Under his leadership, the cartel “sought not only to enrich its members and enhance their power, but also to flood the United States with cocaine and inflict the drug’s harmful and addictive effects on users in this country.”


    The indictment said Maduro and other cartel members, “prioritized using cocaine as a weapon against America and importing as much cocaine as possible into the United States.”


    The criminal charges said Maduro personally negotiated multi-ton shipments of cocaine and coordinated relations with Honduras and other countries to facilitate the illegal drug trade.


    Five other Venezuelans were charged in the indictment, including Diosdado Cabello Rondon, president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios, former director of the country’s military intelligence agency and leaders of the FARC terror group, which became one of the largest producers of cocaine in the world.


    Attorney General William Barr was expected to formally announce the charges at a mid-morning news conference and reveal additional diplomatic sanctions against Venezuela.



    https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-file-cr...135925941.html



    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    These traffickers, gangs, and cartel need swift Death Penalty.

    No warehousing them in our prisons where they continue their crimes behind bars! They are stacking up like cordwood, overcrowding our jails and prisons.

    Get them out of OUR misery. They are a scourge on society and commit crimes against innocent citizens who deserve to be protected from them. There are too many, it is out of control, put them down!
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  3. #3
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Criminal Charges against Venezuelan Officials


    Washington, DC



    ~ Thursday, March 26, 2020



    Remarks as Prepared for Delivery


    Good morning. Today, I am here to talk about the former Maduro regime and its direct participation in narco-terrorism, corruption, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Joining me today is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoff Berman; the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Ariana Fajardo; the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Brian Benczkowski, and; DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.


    As you will hear, the Department of Justice is announcing the unsealing of a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York against four defendants, including Nicolás Maduro, as well as the current head of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, the former Director of Military Intelligence, and a former high-ranking general for their involvement in narco-terrorism.


    In addition, a recent superseding indictment charges two high-ranking regime leaders with corruption. Further, the Southern District of Florida unsealed charges this morning against the Chief Justice of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, involving money laundering. Additionally, the Criminal Division unsealed an indictment charging the Minister of Defense for his involvement in drug trafficking. These charges are in addition to charges the department has previously filed in the Eastern District of New York, the Southern District of Texas, and the District of Arizona against former members of the Maduro regime, totaling 15 defendants. Of these cases, 12 are DEA-led investigations; three are HSI-led investigations.


    The indictment of Nicolás Maduro and his co-defendants alleges a conspiracy involving an extremely violent terrorist organization known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – or FARC – in an effort to flood the United States with cocaine. Now, FARC has been operating in Colombia. In 2017, the Colombians entered into a peace agreement with FARC, under which the overwhelming majority of FARC members laid down their arms and have been living within the political structure of Columbia. However, there is a dissident group of about 2,500 FARC members, and they have taken up on the border between Venezuela and Colombia. These FARC dissidents continue to be involved in drug trafficking and armed insurgency. They have obtained the support of the Maduro regime, which is allowing them to use Venezuela as a safe haven from which they can continue to conduct their cocaine trafficking and their armed insurgency.


    There is an area right on the border in Colombia, Norte de Santander, which is one of the primary cocaine producing areas remaining in Colombia. FARC gets this cocaine over into Venezuela and then is given safe haven by the regime to fly this cocaine from an area called Zulia, near Lake Maracaibo, up into Central America. Since 2016, this air bridge has been established and has grown fivefold in just those four years. In addition, the regime is allowing these drug traffickers to take drugs by a maritime route into the Caribbean. We estimate that somewhere between 200 and 250 metric tons of cocaine are shipped out of Venezuela by these routes per year. Those 250 tons equate to 30 million lethal doses.


    The U.S. Attorneys from the Southern District of New York and the Southern District of Florida, as well as the Assistant Attorney General for the department’s Criminal Division, will now describe some of the indictments in more detail, but I wanted to give you a sense of just how deeply the institutions of the former Venezuelan government are infected by criminality and corruption. You will hear that the people profiting from this corruption are high-ranking members of this former regime, and you will see how this involves all branches of government: executive, judicial, and military. With that, I will turn it over to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoff Berman.


    ***


    Remarks at the end of the press conference


    Again, I want to thank all of the agents and all of the prosecutors who have worked on these cases over the years. As U.S. Attorney Berman mentioned, this work goes back in the Southern District of New York for over a decade, so it is greatly appreciated. To all the work at the DEA, HSI, and our sister agency, the Department of Homeland Security, thank you.


    As alleged, the Maduro regime is awash in corruption and criminality. Maduro and the other defendants have betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuela’s institutions. While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money and the proceeds of their corruption. This has to come to an end.



    Speaker:

    Attorney General William Barr


    Topic(s):

    Drug Trafficking




    https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/a...ncing-criminal



    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  4. #4
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Criminal Charges Against Venezuelan Officials


    Washington, DC


    ~ Thursday, March 26, 2020





    Good morning. Today, we also are announcing charges against General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the Venezuelan Minister of Defense for the Maduro regime. Padrino Lopez, who has been indicted here in the District of Columbia, is accused of conspiring to traffic large amounts of cocaine on board aircraft registered in, and destined for, the United States.


    The charges we are announcing today are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


    As the Attorney General and my colleagues from the Southern District of New York and Southern District of Florida have explained, the Maduro regime is propped up by a sham judiciary and a corrupt military.


    That military—led by Padrino Lopez—was responsible for interdicting suspected drug traffickers flying through Venezuelan air space. But as Minister of Defense, Padrino Lopez instead wielded his power to allow drug traffickers to use Venezuela as a transshipment route for narcotics destined for the United States.


    Padrino Lopez allegedly accepted bribes from drug trafficking organizations to allow them free passage to fly through Venezuelan air space. So long as he was paid off, cocaine-filled aircraft could get by and avoid interdiction. Far from stopping drug traffickers, the military – for the right price – gave safe passage to drug traffickers, terrorists, and other criminals.


    This was a brazen pay-to-play scheme and abuse of power. And it facilitated the rampant trafficking of drugs through Venezuela to Central America and eventually the United States.


    On other occasions, when drug traffickers failed to pay the requisite bribes, Padrino Lopez allegedly ordered or authorized interdiction—either forcing the pilots to land or shooting the planes down.


    Today’s announcement should make clear that the Department of Justice is committed to holding current and former officials of the Maduro regime to account. Those like Padrino Lopez who used their positions of power to promulgate state-sponsored drug trafficking and narco-terrorism will be prosecuted for their crimes.
    I thank the prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and the dedicated agents from the DEA who investigated—and will continue to investigate—this case.



    Speaker:


    Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski


    Topic(s):

    Drug Trafficking
    Foreign Corruption


    Component(s):


    Criminal Division





    Last edited by Beezer; 03-27-2020 at 08:56 AM.
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

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