On Thursday, US Attorney General William Barr said the US was pressing criminal charges against Maduro for allegedly facilitating drug trafficking into the United States. Washington also unveiled money-laundering charges against Venezuela’s Chief Supreme Court Justice Maikel Moreno.
“They have laid new false charges … Venezuela has been at the forefront of the fight against illegal drug trafficking for 15 years,” Maduro said in a televised address on late Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the US authorities offered a series of rewards for information on five top officials in the Venezuelan government, including $15 million for Maduro himself, based on the alleged “involvement in narco-terrorism”.
In addition to Maduro, the other indicted officials include National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello Rondon, former director of Venezuela’s military intelligence Gen. Hugo Carvajal Barrios, former Venezuelan Army general Cliver Alcala Cordones as well as Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) members Luciano Marin Arango and Seuxis Hernandez Solarte.
The Justice Department said in a press release that each defendant is charged with four narco-terrorism and drug trafficking-related charges that carry sentences of a minimum of 50 years in prison and a maximum life sentence. Barr said the United States expects eventually to gain custody of the defendants.