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The Trump administration accused Nicolás Maduro and 14 other top Venezuelan officials of narcotism, drug trafficking, corruption, and other crimes on Thursday, accusing them of using cocaine as a "weapon" to "flood the United States."
Two federal charges that were lifted on Thursday state that Maduro and former and current officials of his regime have worked with dissidents from the FARC – a violent rebel group in Colombia – to conduct drug trafficking for 20 years, causing "tons of cocaine" on the market to destroy American communities. "
The Department of Justice claimed that Maduro and other officials" expressly intended "to flood the United States with cocaine to undermine our nation's health and well-being. "
" Maduro deliberately used cocaine as a weapon, "said US attorney Geoffrey S. Berman on Thursday." As alleged, the accused have betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuelan institutions to their pockets with drug money "
The US government offers a reward of up to $ 15 million for information leading to Maduro's arrest.
Sedentary foreign leaders usually enjoy diplomatic immunity in other countries, but the US and dozens of other nations recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate president, and the charges against Maduro call him the "former president."
The extensive charges against Maduro are the highest escalation of US efforts to overthrow Maduro's socialist government a month after Trump named him "an illegitimate ruler" and one "Tyrants", whose "influence on tyranny will be shattered and broken". during his speech on the state of the Union.
Maduro's regime is "full of crime and corruption," said Attorney General William Barr on Thursday.
According to the charges, Maduro and his officials led and led a drug trafficking organization called the "Cartel of the Sun".
The cartel "not only wanted to enrich its members and strengthen its power, but also the United States with cocaine and inflict the harmful and addictive effects of the drug on US consumers," the Department of Justice said.
Barr raised the decision to indict Maduro during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that Venezuelans were "suffering". "and accused the Maduro government of blocking essential supplies.
Barr said the best way to support the people of Venezuela was to" free the country from this corrupt cabal ".