Diosdado Cabello (C), outgoing president of the National Assembly, arrives accompanied by First Lady and deputy Cilia Flores at the parliament in Caracas, on January 5, 2016. (Photo : JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
The First Lady of Venezuela accused United States authorities of kidnapping her two nephews. Cilia Flores alleged that the US Drug Enforcement Administration operated an illegal operation in her country, thereby violating its sovereignty.
Yahoo revealed that congresswoman Cilia Flores stated that she has evidence that the DEA illegally seized her nephews, Franqui Flores de Freitas, 30, and Efrain Campo Flores, 29, who were arrested due to drug trafficking charges. The two men were arrested in Haiti in November 2015 and then moved to New York, where they are contained for charges of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. The two pleaded not guilty to the charges in December 2015.
The Guardian reported that in October 2015, the two “narconephews” met a DEA informant in Honduras, requesting for aid to send 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States through an airport on Roatan Island, one source stated. Their capture was an embarrassment to President Nicolas Maduro since the case may hint a wider involvement of Venezuelan authorities in drug smuggling from Colombia to Europe and US.
However, socialist party officials deemed the charges as Washington’s attempt to cast doubt on the leftist government. According to Cilia, the arrest happened on Venezuelan soil, which is a violation of the country’s sovereign power.
Cilia added that the DEA tried to connect high-ranking government officials to make it seem as if Venezuela is complacent with the drug trade. She cited that major drug traffickers are actually arrested in her country. Other officials claimed that drug interdiction efforts have been better since the DEA was removed in 2005 after former president Hugo Chavez accused them of spying.
Cilia continued that she has photos and other evidence of the DEA committing crimes in Venezuela of kidnap and vengeance, Telegraph revealed. The congresswoman continued to lambast the DEA, claiming that their objective was to destabilize the country before the parliamentary elections in December 2015, where President Maduro lost control of the National Assembly after 16 years. She also said that the DEA are the “biggest cartel bosses of all.”
“We have evidence that the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] was here on Venezuelan territory violating our sovereignty and committing crimes on our territory. The DEA committed the crime of kidnapping, which the [legal] defence will prove,” the First Lady said in the same report by The Guardian.
The U.S. embassy in Caracas did not immediately comment on the issue.