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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Nephews of Venezuela's first lady sentenced to 18 years in U.S. drug case

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady were sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday following their convictions in New York on U.S. drug trafficking charges.

    U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty sentenced the two men, Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas, 32, and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, 31, at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan. The two are cousins, both nephews of Cilia Flores, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife.


    Lawyers for both defendants had asked for a shorter sentence of 10 years, while prosecutors had sought 30. Crotty said 30 years would be excessive, noting that Flores de Freitas and Campo Flores had no previous criminal history.


    “What moves me is that Mr. Campo Flores and Mr. Flores de Freitas were perhaps not the most astute drug dealers who ever existed,” he said. “They were in over their heads.”




    Both cousins spoke briefly before being sentenced.


    “I know that I have made very serious mistakes in this case,” Campo Flores said, going on to apologize to his wife and children.


    “I’ve always been a good person,” Flores de Freitas said. “Even in jail I tried to help those who were in a worse psychological situation than I find myself in.” He asked that the judge allow him to return to Venezuela soon to be near his son.


    Lawyers for the two men had no immediate comments after the sentencing.


    Flores de Freitas and Campo Flores were arrested in Haiti in November 2015 in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation. Prosecutors said in a court filing they tried to make $20 million through drug trafficking to help keep their family in power.


    Campo Flores and Flores de Freitas were convicted in November 2016 by a jury of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.



    Lawyers for the two men said in a court filing earlier this year that prosecutors had proven only “bungling discussions of a drug plot that could never actually have been executed.”


    Days after the conviction, Maduro blasted the case in a speech as an instance of “U.S. imperialism.” Maduro has frequently cast U.S. accusations of drug trafficking as a pretext for meddling in Venezuela and trying to topple him.


    Under Maduro, oil-producing Venezuela has fallen into an economic and political crisis in which more than 120 people have died in four months of protests. The United States announced new sanctions against Maduro’s government in July.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-v...-idUSKBN1E833G

  2. #2
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    Cracks appear in U.S. drug case against Venezuelan ‘first nephews’
    SEPTEMBER 09, 2016

    Attorneys for the nephews of Venezuela’s first lady made their strongest argument yet Friday that they’re victims of a U.S. political plot against the Venezuelan government – and in the process revealed cracks in the government’s drug case against them.

    Attorneys for Efrain Campo, 29, and Francisco Flores, 30, who were charged last year with conspiring to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S., spent much of the day in federal court pressing federal agents to admit they’d constructed an elaborate plan to target the defendants because of their ties to the first family.

    The two men’s arrest, which took place in Haiti, was considered so sensitive that U.S. Special Agent Robert Zachariasiewicz, who supervised the investigation for the Drug Enforcement Administration, briefed the Haitian minister of justice personally because of the potential fallout from Venezuela.


    On Friday, lawyers for Campo and Flores spent much of the day hammering two of the prosecution’s key witnesses – a father and son duo who’ve since been convicted of unauthorized drug trafficking. The lawyers said that neither the witnesses nor the U.S. agents had ever seen 800 kilograms of cocaine – more than three-quarters of a ton.

    Defense lawyers John Zach and David Roday spent hours grilling the father and son, noting that the pair had collected more than $1.2 million from the U.S. government for their undercover work even as they’d continued to conduct unsanctioned major drug deals.

    The defense elicited on-the-stand confessions that the father had abused cocaine and hired prostitutes while on DEA missions and had repeatedly withheld key information from federal agents and prosecutors.

    The 55-year-old father, who pretended to be a member of the Mexican Sinoloa drug cartel, admitted to deceiving the government for years and selling drugs for four years behind the DEA’s back. Roday got him to acknowledge that it wasn’t until Friday afternoon, during lunch with the prosecutors, that he’d revealed for the first time that he had hired two prostitutes during a DEA mission in Venezuela and also introduced an unauthorized man into their operation.

    “I did lie to them,” said the father, whose name was not revealed because of the sensitivity of the case.

    The issues did not go unnoticed by the U.S. district judge hearing the case, Paul Crotty, who repeatedly pressed defense lawyers to move on.

    “I got it,” Crotty said, noting the “substantial question” to the father’s credibility.

    To be clear, the trial has yet to start. The public testimony of the past two days has been delivered in a hearing seeking to impeach the two confidential sources and suppress the alleged confessions. Recordings of conversations between the defendants and the informants have yet to be revealed.

    But both sides revealed key aspects of their strategy during the hearing.

    The prosecution has said it was clear that the two nephews had the means and capacity to deliver several hundred kilograms of cocaine. Zachariasiewicz described them as “players in the game.”

    “It takes a lot of weight to put 800 kilograms of cocaine together,” Zachariasiewicz added.

    Read more here: Hearing for nephews of Venezuela's first lady continues in New York | McClatchy Washington Bureau

  3. #3
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    Horrible little entitled politicians kids, probably thought they were untouchable.

    Duterte has the same problem.

  4. #4
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    Why the Venezuelan First Lady’s Nephews Got Nailed for Drug Running
    21.11.2016

    Much of the evidence grew out of conversations the two nephews of the first lady had in Caracas and Honduras with DEA informants posing as drug traffickers. And the DEA agents making the arrests here in Haiti probably thought they had an open-and-shut case. But when the case went to trial in the United States it took a new twist.

    According to court records cited in detail by the Associate Press, the two informants were a father and son team who continued to sell narcotics on the side while peddling information to the DEA for six- and even seven-figure sums. Jose Santos-Pena, the 55-year-old father, had been on the DEA books for years, receiving upward of $1 million from the U.S. government. His son, Jose Santos-Hernandez, got hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Then, just as the Flores case was ready to go to trial, the two pleaded guilty to dealing drugs while on the DEA payroll. Testimony from the father revealed more infractions, like using cocaine throughout the investigation, and allowing his son’s friends to sit in on some of the DEA phone calls about Venezuelan targets.

    The vaudevillian display in the U.S. court by the DEA’s own key witnesses seemed to defy reason. At the end of the day, the jury returned a guilty verdict, but this was no open-and-shut case, and it is not surprising that the defenders of the Flores cousins are still trying to prove it was politically motivated.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-th...r-drug-running

  5. #5
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    harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Took six hours for the jury to convict them.

    That's what happens when you have a shitload of evidence including video of the greedy little fuckers bragging about it.

    The quality of the informants was but a small part of it.

    //CLOSED//

  6. #6
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    ^ There is a certain experience how to serve the justice - with a proper help by a well paid "informant" - when it helps to a "good purpose"...
    And who cares when after years the truth comes out with a different story (Lockerbie, Ethel Rosenberg, etc)..

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