The United States has unsealed federal drug trafficking charges against the embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The federal government is accusing Maduro and his regime of taking a prominent leading role in Venezuela’s drug trafficking, which has led to massive amounts of cocaine being smuggled into the United States. Relations with Venezuela have been on the downturn for over 20 years, since late former president Hugo Chavez took over control of the South American country.
Original Case Details
Attorney General William Barr has stated that the Maduro regime has been working in conjunction with the FARC guerrilla movement. FARC is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. They are a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group who was formed back in 1964. FARC was originally formed to represent the poor after the end of the Colombian civil war back in 1958. FARC is considered a terrorist group by the United States.
The indictment has been filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Maduro is accused of “prioritizing the use of cocaine as a weapon against the United States and importing as much cocaine as possible into the United States.” Maduro is said to have negotiated massive shipments of cocaine into the United States using connections in places like the country of Honduras to achieve these objectives. It is estimated that Venezuela is responsible for over 250 metric tons of cocaine smuggled into the United States every year. These charges are similar to what Pablo Escobar and other prominent foreign drug traffickers have faced in the past. Even though the majority of the illegal activity took place outside of the United States, the United States is considered the victim of drug trafficking, so these types of charges are now prevalent.
Current Political Climate In Venezuela
Over 50 countries do not recognize Maduro as the true president of Venezuela. The United States and other opponents have back opposition leader Juan Guaido as the true president of Venezuela. Even though Guaido has been recognized in this way, he has not been able to actually take power within Venezuela, and Maduro has stayed in control. Relations with the United States have been cut off since President Trump has backed opposition leader Guaido. The United States has declared that since Maduro is considered the illegitimate ruler of Venezuela, the office of the presidency became vacant, allowing for Guaido to claim power. Most Latin American countries have agreed to recognize Guaido as the true leader. Countries such as Cuba and Bolivia, who are known for their extreme leftist policies, are the only two in the region who have shown any support for Maduro’s continued presidency. Many people have fled Venezuela to other countries in search of a better life amid all of the political unrest.
What Can Happen Now?
The United States government can try to extradite Maduro and others charged if they do not come willingly to face charged here in the United States. At this point, it is very unlikely that Maduro will come willingly. The State Department has offered a reward of $15,000,000 for any information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of Maduro. While it is unlikely that he would be extradited at this point, if he chooses to travel to another country, he faces the very real possibility that he could be apprehended in another country and handed over to the United States for his prosecution.
Any Further Questions?
If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to federal drug trafficking, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.