Ex-Venezuelan judge gets 6-plus years in prison in drug case

AP News
Posted: Feb 09, 2015 1:02 PM

MIAMI (AP) — A former Venezuelan judge who was arrested last year by U.S. authorities on the way to a Disney World vacation has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for his role in a major cocaine trafficking case linked to the government of former President Hugo Chavez.

Benny Palmeri-Bacchi pleaded guilty in November to charges of extortion, conspiracy to obstruct justice and money laundering conspiracy. The sentence was almost a year longer than recommended by U.S. prosecutors, which the judge said was necessary to reflect the seriousness of the crimes.

Prosecutors say Palmeri-Bacchi conspired with a former Venezuelan Interpol director, Rodolfo McTurk, to help traffickers move Colombian cocaine through Venezuela. McTurk, however, has remained in Venezuela.