U.S. Indicts Venezuela’s Maduro, Offering $15 Million Reward

Clay Curtis
March 26, 2020

The Trump administration is expected to designate Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism as soon as Thursday and bring charges against the country's president, Nicolás Maduro, according to five sources familiar with the situation, in a momentous move that will mark a modern low point in relations between the USA and the ailing socialist state.

The Justice Department was planning to announce charges relating to Venezuela and "narco-terrorism" in a press conference in Washington Thursday at 11 am (1500 GMT). Short of arranging his kidnapping by the Venezuelan opposition, Barr only said that the USA authorities could strike while Maduro and his associates are traveling, itself a remote possibility amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.

"We estimate that somewhere between 200 and 250 metric tons of cocaine are shipped out of Venezuela by these routes", Barr said, adding that the shipments were equivalent to 30 million lethal doses of drugs.

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The Justice Department does have a track record of bringing major drug offenders to face trial, including Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera - the infamous "El Chapo" - who was convicted in Brooklyn last year and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. "The United States will not allow these corrupt Venezuelan officials to use the USA banking system to move their illicit proceeds from South America nor further their criminal schemes". Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY, will formally discuss the charges at a news conference. "It is a direct reference to the sun-shaped stars that Venezuelan military officers wear on their uniforms".

"We do expect to eventually gain custody of these defendants", Barr said of Maduro and his indicted aides.

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