Venezuelan first lady's nephews plead not guilty to U.S. drug charges

Judge James Cott (L), attorneys John J. Reilly (C) and Rebekah J. Poston (R) with defendants Efrain Antonio Campo Flores (foreground, R) and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas (foreground, C) during a hearing in U.S. district court in the Manhattan borough of New York in this courtroom sketch from November 12, 2015. REUTERS/Christine Cornell
Judge James Cott (L), attorneys John J. Reilly (C) and Rebekah J. Poston (R) with defendants Efrain Antonio Campo Flores (foreground, R) and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas (foreground, C) during a hearing in U.S. district court docket in the Ny borough of latest York in…

Reuters/Christine Cornell


Two nephews of Venezuela’s powerful first woman pleaded now not responsible on Thursday to U.S. charges that they conspired to import cocaine into the us.

Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 30, and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 29, entered their pleas in federal court docket in New York, five weeks after they have been arrested in Haiti.

Their case used to be the newest in a series of enforcement moves introduced with the aid of U.S. authorities linking folks linked to the Venezuelan executive to drug trafficking.

Sources have stated each are nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s spouse, Cilia Flores, whom the president refers to because the “First Combatant” and is highly influential underneath the federal government of her husband.

She worked on the prison workforce of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, working to stable his 1994 liberate from jail after a failed coup attempt.

According To a U.S. regulation enforcement Source, the two nephews met a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant in Honduras in October and asked for lend a hand sending 800 kilograms (1,764 lb) of cocaine to the us thru an airport on the Honduran island of Roatan.

According To the indictment, the pair also participated that month in conferences in Venezuela relating to a shipment of cocaine that was once to be despatched to the us via Honduras.

The Fees got here simply weeks sooner than an election through which Maduro’s opposition took a more than two-thirds supermajority of the nation’s legislature.

U.S. prosecutors are additionally planning to unveil drug trafficking fees in opposition to Nestor Reverol, the pinnacle of Venezuela’s National Protect, and Edylberto Molina, currently a militia attache posted in Germany, people aware of the matter have mentioned.

Reverol, the former head of Venezuela’s anti-narcotics company, would be one of the crucial best possible-ranking Venezuelan officers to face U.S. drug fees.

The U.S. State Division has mentioned that more than 1/2 of the cocaine produced in neighboring Colombia is trafficked thru Venezuela toward markets in Europe and the U.S..

Maduro keeps that expenses of involvement by means of officers in his Socialist party in drug trafficking are a part of a world right-wing marketing campaign to discredit socialism in Venezuela.

(Reporting through Nate Raymond in the big apple; Modifying by Tom Brown)

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