Brooklyn – Two powerful members of the Venezuelan political elite have been accused by American prosecutors for receiving money from drug dealers.
The men’s business consists of informing drug traffickers whenever there are raids and investigations so they can easily avoid them. A source familiar with the case told The New York Times that Néstor Reverol and Edilberto Molina will soon be charged in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
One of the accused is Reverol, head of the Venezuela’s National Guard, who used to be a close friend of the deceased president Hugo Chávez while serving as Interior Minister and head of the nation’s antidrug unit. His prosecution, one of the most severe among Venezuelan powerful figures, will possibly be unveiled this month.
The source close to the case, whose name will not be revealed due to security reasons, for more than ten years played a key role in criminal groups even when his job position required him to do the opposite. According to prosecutors involved with his case, Reverol stopped or disrupted investigations by himself in order to allow drug dealers to carry out their operations in Venezuelan soil with impunity.
As for the other accused, Edilberto Molina is a former official of the Venezuelan National Guard’s antidrug unit, close enough to Reverol to work on his side. Over the years the head of the National Guard has rejected accusations from the U.S. that Venezuela has failed to stop narcotics trafficking between the country and Colombia. Both of the accused are believed to be in their home country, which has no extradition agreement with the U.S.
At least five members of the Venezuelan political establishment have been accused by the United States for taking part in drug trafficking, including Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efraín Antonio Campo Flores. They are nephews of Cilia Flores, the current Venezuelan president’s wife, who were charged in November alongside a former attorney general with attempting to transport 800 kilograms of cocaine to the U.S. They ended up arrested in Haiti.
For years opposition leaders have been denouncing government senior officials of being involved with drug crimes or ignoring cases by closing or intentionally disturbing investigations.
On the other hand, Venezuelan current president Nicolás Maduro believes that all accusations against members of the political establishment are part of an international fascist campaign to discredit the socialist movement in the country. In fact, the Socialist Party says that Venezuela’s efforts to fight drug trafficking have improved since the government ejected the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2005.
Meanwhile, former head of international operations for the DEA Mike Vigil has declared that the country known for having the world’s greatest oil reserves has been transformed into one of the main gates for the cocaine that is transported to the U.S. and Europe, with the National Guard being the ally of Colombian drug dealers.
According to an annual report released this year by the U.S. State of Department, Venezuela constitutes an important transit route for illegal drugs that come from South America. The report states that a cause implied Colombia’s weak and corrupt judicial system and the lack of international cooperation regarding the battle against narcotics trafficking.
Source: New York Times