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Venezuela Defends Military Official Facing US Indictment

  • Reuters

Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela

Venezuela accused the United States on Thursday of "judicial terrorism" and double standards in an indictment against a senior military official for drug trafficking.

Nestor Reverol, a former interior minister and head of the anti-drugs agency who now runs the National Guard, is accused of taking payments from traffickers and alerting them to raids, according to a person with knowledge of the case.

Another official, Edylberto Molina, currently a military attache posted in Germany, is also named in the indictment.

"Venezuela totally rejects U.S. foreign policy which, through judicial and police terrorism from national agencies and using global media campaigns, pursues, threatens and pressures the exercise of authority in Venezuela," a statement said.

Reverol, who would be one of the highest-ranking Venezuelan officials to face U.S. drug charges, had a distinguished record in the drug fight, the communique added.

"Under this senior Venezuelan official's management, major successes have been achieved in the control and prevention of the evil business of illicit drug-trafficking," it said.

Reverol has not commented on the case, but has previously rejected accusations Venezuela failed to curb illicit drug shipments and has touted the National Guard's success in cracking down on the flow of cocaine from neighboring Colombia.

The indictment pending in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, is expected to be unveiled in January, according to people familiar with the case.

Long accused of complicity in the drug trade, the governments of President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez say the charges are part of an international right-wing campaign to discredit socialism in Venezuela.

In another high-profile case, two nephews of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores were arrested in Haiti last month and indicted in Manhattan on cocaine trafficking charges.

Citing Afghanistan as an example, Venezuela's government statement said U.S. agencies were known for manipulating and applying double standards to the issue of drugs in order to violate the sovereignty of other nations.

Venezuela has in recent years become a major shipment route for Colombian cocaine to U.S. and European markets.

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