The Law Offices of John Phebus

Feds to charge foreign military officials with drug trafficking

Federal prosecutors are getting ready to charge officials in the Venezuelan military with cocaine trafficking to the United States, according to someone who knows about the case. It might be surprising to people in Arizona that these officials are generals in the Venezuelan National Guard.

One of the men expected to be charged is a general who leads the National Guard. Another man is a general in the National Guard who used to be a highly ranked official in the country's National Anti-Drug Office. Both of the men are being accused of conspiracy to traffic cocaine between Venezuela and the United States.

U.S. officials in Brooklyn are expected to make public the charges against the generals by the end of December, say people who are aware of the case. The charges stem from a larger investigation into the supposed involvement of high-ranking army and National Guard officers and high-ranking officials in upper levels of the government.

News of this broke on Dec. 15, and Venezuelan officials have not responded. However, some officials have dismissed previous reports that federal prosecutors were conducting investigations into Venezuelan officers. They have claimed that American prosecutors are involved in a conspiracy to weaken the Venezuelan government so that the opposition can take power.

This follows two nephews of Venezuela's first lady being detained in November and transported to the United States from Haiti. The men were planning to traffic almost 1,800 pounds of cocaine to the states. During their first court appearance, the men's attorneys suggested that they will plead not guilty at a Dec. 17 hearing.

Having a criminal conviction could have a devastating impact on an individual's life, particularly if the defendant is part of a military or other government agency. To avoid convictions, defendants in this position may want to have criminal defense attorneys help them gather evidence in their favor or to help them negotiate plea deals.

Source: FOX News, "US to charge Venezuelan military officials with cocaine trafficking," Dec. 16, 2015

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