The U.S. Department of Justice has charged the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as well as numerous current and former country officials with drug dealing operations. The perpetrators allegedly flooded the streets of the U.S. with illegal substances and used cryptocurrencies to conceal the transactions.
DOJ Charges Venezuelan President Maduro
According to the indictment from earlier today, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) found out that a significant number of high-level Venezuelan officials have been involved with illegal activities since 1999. Amongst those are President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s vice president for the economy, the Minister of Defense, and the Chief Supreme Court Justice.
For over twenty years, they acted as leaders of the notorious “Cartel of the Suns.” The statement claimed that the cartel abused the Venezuelan people and corrupted legitimate local institutions to facilitate the importation of tons of cocaine into the U.S.
Their goal was not only to benefit financially and enhance their power but also to “flood” the U.S. with drugs and inflict addictive effects on local citizens.
Attorney General William Barr, one of the U.S. officials that announced the charges, indicated that the cartel worked closely with FARC – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
“For more than 20 years, Maduro and a number of high-ranking colleagues allegedly conspired with the FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities.
Today’s announcement is focused on rooting out the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government – a system constructed and controlled to enrich those at the highest levels of the government.
The United States will not allow these corrupt Venezuelan officials to use the U.S. banking system to move their illicit proceeds from South America nor further their criminal schemes.”
In the past several years, the cartel innovated and adjusted their payment methods accordingly and eventually included cryptocurrencies, the indictment explained. HSI’s Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs outlined the digital asset usage and the agency’s efforts to stop any illegal activities:
“Today’s announcement highlights HSI’s global reach and commitment to aggressively identify, target, and investigate individuals who violate U.S. laws, exploit financial systems, and hide behind cryptocurrency to further their illicit criminal activity. Let this indictment be a reminder that no one is above the law – not even powerful political officials.”
The statement, however, doesn’t specify which or how many cryptocurrencies the cartel has used over the years.