The U.S. indicted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for drug trafficking on Thursday, offering a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on an adversary it has sought to push aside.
The U.S. also indicted 14 key Maduro associates, including former Vice President Diosdado Cabello, offering $10 million for information leading to their arrests. Charges were filed against the country’s defense minister, chief justice and superintendent of cryptocurrency.
“The Maduro regime is awash in corruption and criminality,” Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference in Washington, held remotely because of the coronavirus. “While the Venezuelan people suffer, this cabal lines their pockets with drug money and the proceeds of corruption.”
The charges allege a conspiracy involving the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a terrorist group that Barr said was determined to “flood the U.S. with cocaine.” He said that Maduro’s regime gives the FARC, as the group is known, authority to fly drug-filled planes over Venezuelan airspace and safely manufacture cocaine on its territory.
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