Drug trafficking is a lucrative business that has provided a very good income stream for corrupt despotic dictatorships in Latin America.
Venezuelan first lady’s nephews convicted in U.S. drug trial
Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, nephews of Cilia Flores, the wife of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, were convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.The case has been an embarrassment for Maduro amid economic and political crises in the South American nation. The case was one of several in which U.S. prosecutors have linked individuals tied to the Venezuelan government to drug trafficking.
They face up to life in prison when they are sentenced. Their lawyers indicated in court they planned to file post-trial motions challenging the convictions, though did not specify on what grounds.
“Our client’s obviously disappointed, but we want to see what the next steps are,” said Randall Jackson, a lawyer for Campo Flores.
Flores de Freitas, 31, and Campo Flores, 30, were arrested in Haiti in November 2015 and flown to the United States following a sting operation orchestrated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Prosecutors said the two men plotted to use a Venezuelan airport’s presidential hangar to send 800 kgs of cocaine to Honduras for shipment into the United States.
Prosecutors said recordings of meetings with two DEA informants showed the nephews wanted the cash to counteract money they believed the United States was supplying to the opposition before Venezuela’s December 2015 National Assembly elections.
Maduro’s Socialist Party lost its parliamentary majority after the election.
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