Trump administration indicts Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for 'narco-terrorism'

Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores in La Guaira Venezuela on Dec 8 2019

It comes months after President Donald Trump placed pressure on Maduro to leave office after Venezuela's duly elected National Assembly declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate.

The United States Justice Department is planning to indict Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for narco-terrorism.

Also Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced a $15 million reward for information leading to Mr.

Other Venezuelan officials whose indictments were announced on Thursday include Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, senior socialist leader Diosdado Cabello and the chief justice of the country's supreme court, Maikel Jose Moreno Perez, 54, who was charged with money laundering.

The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Maduro's capture and a $10 million reward for the other Venezuelan officials.

Asked whether Washington wants to capture Mr Maduro dead or alive, Attorney General Barr said: "We want him captured so he can face justice in U.S. court".

The indictments were issued in multiple USA jurisdictions including NY and Miami, with charges running from "conspiracy to narco-terrorism" to money laundering.

The indictment of a functioning head of state is highly unusual and is bound to ratchet up tensions between Washington and Caracas.

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Barr also observed that Washington does not consider Maduro to be Venezuela's rightful president. It also could fragment the US -led coalition against Maduro if European and Latin American allies think the Trump administration is overreaching.

They acted alongside President Maduro as "leaders and managers" of the Cartel of the Suns, the department said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials also said that live indictments in the United States justice system complicate the ability for Maduro or his cronies to travel outside Venezuela, and certainly for them to try to travel to the United States.

Washington backs opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who previous year declared himself interim president.

The indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), alleges that Maduro and his cohorts were actively engaged in a "corrupt and violent narco-terrorism conspiracy between the Venezuelan Cartel de Los Soles and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)"-a Leninist-Marxist rebel group known as one of the world's largest producers of cocaine".

The last time the USA brought charges against another country's president was 1990 when Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was indicted on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

Julio Borges, Guaido's foreign affairs commissioner, echoed the accusations, offering the simple equation that "Maduro equals drug trafficking, Maduro equals organized crime". It also could fragment the USA -led coalition against Maduro if European and Latin American allies think the Trump administration is overreaching.

The Justice Department claims that Maduro is supporting drug trade routes through Central America and the Caribbean.

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