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US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drug-trafficking allegations

November 11, 2015

NEW YORK – U.S. agents have arrested two relatives of Venezuela’s first lady for allegedly conspiring to smuggle 800 kilos (1,800 pounds) of cocaine into the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas were arrested in Haiti on Tuesday by local police, handed over to U.S. agents and flown the same day to New York, the newspaper said, citing two unnamed people familiar with the matter.

The two men are due to appear before a U.S. federal judge in New York on Thursday, the Journal added. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan was not immediately reachable for comment.

Campo Flores, 29, identified himself on the plane as a stepson of President Nicolás Maduro who had been brought up by his aunt, First Lady Cilia Flores, the newspaper said.

The Journal said the other man identified himself as a nephew of Cilia Flores, a former president of Venezuela’s National Assembly and defense lawyer for Venezuela’s late leader, Hugo Chávez.

The Journal reported in May that U.S. prosecutors are investigating several senior Venezuelan officials for alleged involvement in large-scale cocaine trafficking.

Recommended: Colombia is again the world’s top coca producer. Why that’s a blow to the US

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