The United States has indicted Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro and other top regime officials in a narco-terrorism and drug trafficking conspiracy that aimed to “flood the United States with cocaine,” the Justice Department announced.
The criminal indictment accuses Maduro of teaming up with Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) to smuggle cocaine into the United States.
The socialist leader has been charged with participating in a narco-terrorism conspiracy—which carries a 20-year minimum sentence. He is also accused of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, and related criminal offenses to support the drug smuggling effort.
Attorney General William Barr announced the charges during a press conference on Thursday, adding that the conspiracy involved many current and former top Venezuelan regime officials who allegedly profited from the corruption.
The DOJ also indicted more than a dozen of these high ranking officials for their involvement in the conspiracy including the head of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, intelligence officials, and military members. Moreover, two FARC leaders have also been charged.
“The Venezuelan regime, once led by Nicolás Maduro Moros, remains plagued by criminality and corruption,” Barr said. “For more than 20 years, Maduro and a number of high-ranking colleagues allegedly conspired with the FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities.”
“Today’s announcement is focused on rooting out the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government—a system constructed and controlled to enrich those at the highest levels of the government. The United States will not allow these corrupt Venezuelan officials to use the U.S. banking system to move their illicit proceeds from South America nor further their criminal schemes,” he added.
“We do expect eventually to gain custody of these defendants and we’re going to explore all options for getting custody,” Barr said during the press conference.
There is a $15 million bounty on Maduro’s head.