US agent portrays Venezuelan government as lax on drug trade

AP News
Posted: Sep 08, 2016 5:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. drug enforcement agent has portrayed the Venezuelan government as protective of or complicit in the drug trade during New York testimony.

Drug Enforcement Administration agent Sandalio Gonzalez said in court Thursday two nephews of Venezuela's powerful first lady were big players in the drug trafficking business. He says they bragged drug-laden planes could use the presidential ramp at the main airport in Caracas.

Defense lawyers say the arrests of Efrain Campo and Francisco Flores came after a flawed probe.

The men have pleaded not guilty to charges they conspired to import 1,800 pounds of cocaine into the United States. They are trying to suppress statements they made to Gonzalez on a flight from Haiti after their arrest there.

The Venezuelan government hasn't responded to requests for comment.