We already know the Hugo likes to chew on coca leaves supplied by his socialist buddy, Bolivian
narco-trafficker President Evo Morales, but now it looks like he may finally get revealed as a major drug lord, too:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez should be very troubled that a man whom President Obama has branded one of the world’s most significant drug kingpins, Walid Makled-Garcia, may soon be telling U.S. federal prosecutors everything he knows about senior Venezuelan officials who have abetted his cocaine smuggling operations. Makled-Garcia’s devastating testimony comes on the heels of fresh evidence of Chávez’s support for terrorist groups from Spain, Colombia, and the Middle East and his apparent illegal support for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Slowly but surely, Chávez is being unmasked as a mastermind of a criminal regime.
According to a federal indictment unsealed in New York last Thursday, from 2006 through August 2010, Makled-Garcia conspired with Venezuelan officials to ship tons of cocaine from airstrips in that country to Central America, Mexico, and, ultimately, the United States. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called Makled-Garcia “a king among kingpins.” Indeed, the Justice Department has designated him a “priority target,” as one of the most dangerous and prolific narcotics traffickers.
Makled-Garcia was once known as one of Venezuela’s most wealthy entrepreneurs. He came on to the radar screen of U.S. antidrug authorities years ago, when he was suspected of using his family business operations in the Venezuelan port of Puerto Cabello and his close ties to the Venezuelan military and Colombian narcotraffickers to smuggle cocaine. With the active complicity of dozens of senior Venezuelan authorities, Makled-Garcia allegedly operated a drug smuggling network using airstrips in Venezuelan territory. The family also is suspected of being involved in more than a dozen murders, including those of a respected Venezuelan journalist and a Colombian narcotrafficker.
Based on the U.S. indictment, Colombian authorities arrested Makled-Garcia on August 18, and are currently considering a U.S. extradition request for the notorious suspect. In the meantime, in a jailhouse interview with Colombia’s RCN TV last week, Makled-Garcia said he has enough evidence of high-level drug corruption, including videos and bank records, “for the U.S. to intervene and invade Venezuela, as with [Manuel Antonio] Noriega in Panama.”
Read the whole thing. Makled-Garcia claims to have names and bank account numbers showing the involvement of Chavez’s inner circle and their relatives, and he’s making it very clear he will not play the fall-guy. As the article points out, it’s possible* that Chavez isn’t involved, himself, but then why was he desperately begging new Colombian President Santos to return Makled-Garcia back to Caracas for “investigation?”
No doubt because he has evidence implicating Chavez either directly or indirectly-but-uncomfortably-close, and, should he be sent back to Venezuela, Makled-Garcia would (regrettably, of course) be shot while trying to escape.
But Colombia isn’t playing along. They have several longstanding beefs with Hugo, plus they want to keep their American allies happy. It’s almost certain Makled-Garcia is heading for the United States, and, when he gets here, the tale he has to tell should be very interesting. Not that it would surprise anyone that Hugo Chavez was into drug smuggling, but having hard evidence on him would be sweet, indeed.
Via The Jawa Report.
*As in, it’s possible the sun could rise in the West, too.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)